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‘I don’t know why burglars called me’ says Norfolk garage owner accused of supplying false plates to gang

PUBLISHED: 16:16 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:16 23 October 2018

Simon Oakley, who owns Stratton Quick Fit in Long Stratton, is one of four men who went on trial on October 16 in connection with the break-ins. 
Picture: Staff photographer

Simon Oakley, who owns Stratton Quick Fit in Long Stratton, is one of four men who went on trial on October 16 in connection with the break-ins. Picture: Staff photographer

Archant Norfolk 2018

A Norfolk garage owner accused of supplying false plates to a gang which carried out more than 200 burglaries has said he does not know why certain men involved in the set-up contacted him.

Simon Oakley, who runs Stratton Quickfit in Long Stratton, is one of four men on trial in connection with a prolific burglary gang which operated across East Anglia between February and December 2017.

Oakley, 45, of Alburgh Road in Hempnall, is also charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, which he denies.

Previously, he has accepted he had supplied the number plates for the cars but had no idea they were being used in the commission of burglaries.

During cross-examination on Tuesday, October 23, William Carter, prosecuting, asked Oakley if he knew why certain men involved in the burglaries had contacted him.

Oakley said he did not know why.

Mr Carter put it to the defendant that at “critical times” certain men involved with the crimes had called him, and the barrister asked if this was a “coincidence”.

The defendant replied that he “ran a busy business” and people were going to call him.

The barrister also noted a WhatsApp conversation between Oakley and another man during which the other man said: “Do you have the lads looking out for [a Range Rover Evoque]?”

“He is saying to you that you can have the lads out looking for a car,” Mr Carter said.

“I didn’t reply to that, did I?” Oakley said.

Later, Mr Carter referred to June 22 last year. He said that Charlie Webb, who had just committed a burglary, called Oakley and that they spoke for more than two minutes. The barrister asked why Webb would be calling Oakley after “escaping from the scene of a burglary”.

“I’m not sure why that is,” the defendant said. “He’s calling a business.”

Webb has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle.

Also standing trial are:

Ammir Kohanzad, 68, of Ingestre Road in Calver, London; James Pateman, 55, of Wollens Brook in Hoddensdon, Hertfordshire; and Thomas Pateman, 54, of Fen Road in Chesterton, Cambridgeshire. The three men are charged with handling stolen goods, which they all deny.

The trial continues.

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