Tractor 'cloners' jailed at Preston Crown Court

Image caption, Harrison and Cartmell's crimes caused 'misery and distress' to farmers

Two men have been jailed for their part in a tractor-cloning operation in which farm vehicles were stolen and illegally re-registered.

Edward Harrison, of New Kettlesbeck Farm, Austwick was jailed at Preston Crown Court for 35 months after admitting theft and fraud charges.

Stuart Cartmell, 47, of Carnforth, Capenwray, was sentenced to 19 months.

He pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and making false statements over the crimes, committed in 2009 and 2010.

'Sophisticated and organised'

The pair were involved in the theft of five tractors and a trailer between May 2009 and January 2010, police said after the hearing.

A Lancashire police spokesman said: "Tractors and livestock trailers were brought to Harrison and Cartmell at a time when they were being stolen in West Yorkshire and other parts of Northern England.

"Harrison and Cartmell changed the identities of these stolen vehicles in a sophisticated and organised manner which also involved misuse of the DVLA.

Det Sup Simon Ingham said: "I welcome these sentences as they reflect the seriousness of the crime.

"Without the handler there is no theft and this type of crime seriously undermines the economy and causes misery and distress to farmers and people connected with the livestock industry."

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