A man who played a key part in the theft of a tour van which meant a popular children’s theatre show had to be cancelled has been jailed.
Darius Diminskas, 34, of Eaglesthorpe, Peterborough was a ‘key player’ in the theft of the ‘Dear Zoo’ van in Peterborough in April.
The van was covered in the iconic lion from the children’s book of the same name, and contained more than £41,000 of stage props including a life-size monkey and frog costumes.
It was taken from Dogsthorpe Road, Peterborough on 27th April and driven towards the A1 before the tracking device was removed and it was fitted with cloned number plates.
A further two vans were taken on 8th May from New Road and Palmerston Road, Woodston. They were owned by glaziers and contained large quantities of valuable power tools.
The tracking devices were also removed and the number plates cloned.
Officers investigating the thefts linked Diminskas’ own vehicle to the incidents and discovered blank vehicle keys, number plates, a GPS tracking unit and V5 registration documents for multiple vehicles at his home.
They also found a power tool and a sack trolley belonging to the victims.
However, the Dear Zoo van and props, costumes and sets were never recovered.
Today Diminskas was sentenced to two years and four months today (26 June) after pleading guilty to conspiring to steal a motor vehicle at Peterborough Crown Court.
PC Craig Trevor said: “Diminskas initially denied any involvement then later claimed he had been asked to give two men a lift to the homes of the vehicles in return for a fee.
“Our investigation revealed Diminskas to be one of the key players in these sophisticated thefts moving stolen vehicles across multiple counties. Not only were the victims left without their vehicles, they also lost their valuable power tools and equipment they require to do their work. The owners of the ‘Dear Zoo’ van were forced to cancel their live tour, costing them thousands of pounds.”