Two men have been sentenced at Belfast Crown Court for offences as a result of an extensive investigation into the fraudulent purchase of vehicles.

Thomas Roberts, aged 30, and 25-year-old Shane McDonagh, both from the Staines area of Wraysbury, England were convicted of seven counts of fraud and possession of criminal assets.

Roberts was also separately convicted of driving with no insurance and McDonagh of possession of a Class C controlled drug.

Yesterday, Wednesday 3rd July, they were handed a 40 month sentence for all offences. They were ordered to spend 20 months in prison, and the remainder of the sentence on licence.

The fraudulent purchase of vehicles was carried out by both men between the period of February and October 2022 across the Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, Armagh and Newry areas

Commenting, Detective Sergeant Cargin said: “An extensive and detailed investigation commenced after the suspects fraudulently purchased seven vehicles through classified advertising on a website.

“The seller was then contacted by the defendants and arrangements were made to meet in Northern Ireland.

“They then took the vehicle for a test drive and a price was agreed. The defendant showed a fake banking app which appeared to display the agreed amount being transferred. However, the money never arrived for the sale and contact was lost.

“Of the seven vehicles stolen in this manner three were later recovered, only one of which was in a usable condition.

“The two defendants were subsequently stopped disembarking from the Birkenhead to Belfast Ferry on 15th May 2023 and were arrested and later charged with related offences.

“These were very serious fraudulent offences and we, along with partner organisations, remain committed to disrupting the activities of those involved with illegal activity, including financial fraud.

“I would encourage anyone with information that could assist in our ongoing efforts to contact us on the non-emergency number 101, or submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via”

You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online here.