A crook who made a small fortune trading in stolen PCs was jailed for three years last week.
While at large, Charles Davis of Lucan Road, Barnet, was regarded by police as London's number one computer crook.
Between November 1993 and his arrest in July 1995, records showed that Davis did business to the tune of #774,000, Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court heard.
The money was deposited into a series of bank accounts held in his wife's name in London, New York and France. It was then spent on a lavish lifestyle in which Davis paid for luxury holidays in cash and brought an expensive car using bundles of #50 notes from a briefcase, said prosecutor Brendan Finucane.
Counsel told the court Davis' wife, Michelle, held 'no occupation to explain huge sums of money that went through her accounts'. In one account alone, between October 1993 and the date of Davis' arrest, #112,000 was deposited and some #107,000 withdrawn.
With the proceeds from his dealings, Davis brought a plot of land in the Cognac region of France where he was building himself a luxury villa.
Immediately following his arrest, building work on the villa was stopped, but when completed, the property should be worth #150,000, the court was told.
After his arrest and remand on bail, Davis, who was born in Glasgow, still managed to earn the equivalent of #35,000 a year as a computer consultant.
His co-defendant, Misha Elias, aged 37, who was jailed for two years, was described by police as the number two computer crook in London. He and Davis met through an advertisement placed by Davis in Loot magazine. A police surveillance operation recorded numerous meetings between the two villains.
Passing sentence, Judge Simon Smith said: 'You have both been at the forefront of a major network of people for burgling offices and stealing the computers in them - all of it up-to-date equipment.
'You have been at the heart of turning them over as receivers and distributing them to people who want to buy. It is doubtful if the burglaries would have ever taken place had the burglars not had the confidence that they could sell them on.'
The judge added: 'I have no doubt that it would not have finished in July 1995 if the police had not acted.'
Commenting outside the court, a detective revealed that the three-year investigation into Davis' computer theft was the biggest of its kind in London.
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