A Peterborough man has been jailed for three years for his part in a gang which stole catalytic converters from vehicles in Horncastle and Woodhall Spa.
Jacob Smith, 43, of Palmer Road, Peterborough, was sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court.
The court was told the gang operated at night and targeted vehicles across the county - including Horncastle and Woodhall Spa.
The thefts were only discovered when people tried to use their vehicles the following morning.
Gareth Weetman, prosecuting, said the gang stole up to 16 converters in one operation.
Smith was described as one of the main gang members.
He was caught after police stopped his car following an 80mph chase.
The court heard he was already a suspect - because of his links with a Volvo car connected to the thefts.
Police discovered DNA on a glove in the car which was matched to the theft of the converters.
Smith - and other gang members who have not been traced - used a cutting tool to remove the converters.
Following the chase, police stopped Smith’s car at Five Acres caravan site near Gosberton Risegate.
The two occupants of the car ran off and evaded capture, even though police called in a dog team
A search of the immediate area led to police discovering 32 catalytic converters, hidden under a tarpaulin. Following the DNA match, Smith was arrested in July last year.
The court heard Smith admitted to being involved in 20 thefts which left vehicle owners with repair bills estimated at £18,000.
In defence, Dominic Shelley said Smith had pleaded guilty at the early opportunity.