Ex-footballer jailed over car parts
An ex-Manchester United player has been jailed for 15 months for selling on parts from stolen high-performance cars.
Police stumbled upon the illegal vehicle-breaking operation of Ronnie Wallwork, 34, while investigating a string of unconnected armed robberies across Lancashire.
Wallwork, from Failsworth, Manchester, was working out of a rented scrapyard unit in Newton Heath when he was arrested last November.
It emerged he had sold a Volkswagen Touran engine and parts from a BMW 318i on eBay, while he was observed driving a Mazda Furano into the scrapyard three days after it was stolen from a car dealer.
The three stolen vehicles he was linked to were worth more than £43,000 in total, Preston Crown Court heard.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of handling stolen goods at an earlier hearing.
Sentencing him, Judge Simon Newell said he could not agree with the defence barrister's request to impose a suspended jail term.
He said: "These were high-value items that were stolen.
"It seems to me they were taken in a professional and sophisticated way. It also seems clear to me that they were taken to go into the black market either to be sold on or broken down and sold on.
"You provided the facility for that to happen. There was an element of organisation and sophistication in what went on."