Andrew Murray, 50, of Bannard Road, Maidenhead, received a 12-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, and 250 hours community service at Reading Crown Court this morning.
Judge Richard Parkes QC said Murray had been ‘less culpable’ than his co-defendants and – unlike the other defendants – he had no previous record of dishonesty.
Murray’s accomplices in the car smuggling ring: Khalid Mahmood, 35, of Duffield Lane, in Stoke Poges, Irfan Rehman, 41, of New Bedford Road in Luton, and Amran Iqbal, 39, of Derby Road in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, were all given between three and five years imprisonment last month.
“You allowed yourself to be swayed by these professional thieves to prepare these vehicles for car theft,” said Judge Parkes.
“But your involvement was limited.”
The judge took into account that Murray’s business, formerly Berkshire High Performance in Reform Road, had suffered greatly over recent months, losing two contracts worth a total of £170,000 a year.
He said: “At this moment your life has been ruined by your decision to be involved with Mahmood’s professional gang.
“But in my judgement your decision was out of character.”
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The Met Office has issued a yellow alert for Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough and Wokingham, warning that rain moving eastwards across the south of the country may turn to snow in some places.