Two men who unknowingly sold more than 100,000 worth of stolen cars to the police during a six-month sting have been jailed.
Dean Cronin, 41, and Daniel Gordon, 28, both from Cardiff, were behind a campaign which saw luxury cars being stolen from driveways across south Wales, the city’s crown court heard.
Both pleaded guilty to conspiring to handle stolen goods.
Cronin was jailed for three-and-a-half years and Gordon for 20 months.
South Wales Police said houses were burgled for the car keys inside, and vehicles were driven off while their owners were sleeping upstairs.
But the buyers on seven occasions were police officers, who were building a file of evidence against the pair.
Between June and November, 2016, Cronin and Gordon sold vehicles worth 110,000 to officers for just under 5,400 – including a Mercedes GLA worth 31,000, for just 1,200.
The vehicles had been stolen from places including Cathays and Llanishen in Cardiff, Penarth, in Vale of Glamorgan and Caerphilly.
Det Insp Dean Taylor said: “Dean Cronin and Daniel Gordon headed up an organised crime group which was behind a relentless campaign of crimes across the region.
“They created the market for stolen vehicles and in doing so they inflicted misery and the trauma of being the victim of a burglary upon lots of people.
“The cars which they sold on would have been stripped down for parts or cloned which means they would continue life on our roads as unregistered, illegal and therefore unsafe vehicles.”
He said investigations were ongoing to secure convictions for “the burglaries which fuelled their illegal operation”.