A man has been jailed for more than four years for being at the heart of a racket exporting stolen machinery to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Ali Ghasemi, 79, of Harrow Weald Park, Harrow, was found guilty in March for his part in the conspiracy, which dated back to 2008.

Today at Southwark Crown Court he was sentenced to three years, four months in prison.

Between 2008 and 2010 using the name “Javad Jan”, Ghasemi, together with Behroz Sayed, 35, Ali Farad Sayed, 23, Najia Sayed, 31, and Krezhal Sayed, 24, booked a freight company to supply shipping containers to remote locations across South East England.

According to police at least 48 stolen JCBs, rollers, forklifts, tractors and heavy lifting equipment, worth around £50,000 each, were loaded into the containers.

The machinery was shipped out to a company Ghasemi had links with called Al Mustaqeem in Sharjah, in the UAE.

Police believe the cargo was sold on at a huge profit to clients in the country, where there is a huge demand for plant machinery.

The Metropolitan Police’s plant and agricultural national intelligence unit (PANIU) began investigating the family in July 2009 and all members of the gang, based in Watford and other addresses in Harrow, were arrested.

All were charged with conspiracy to conceal, disguise, transfer or remove criminal property.

The others involved in the case were jailed last year.

Detective James Elliott of the PANIU said: “The demand for high value plant machinery in the UAE was sky-high and Ghasemi and the Sayed family sought to make money from that with criminal methods.

“We believe that the vehicles had been stolen to order for clients in the UAE. Ghasemi and Sayed facilitated their export so that they could be sold on.

“A financial investigation to establish how much they made from their criminal enterprise is ongoing.

“Documentation we seized indicates that hundreds of thousands of pounds has passed through the family’s accounts over the course of the conspiracy.”