A member of a text message scam gang drove from London to Oxfordshire to steal a Mercedes.

Samillah Safi, 20, had denied being part of a conspiracy to burgle a house in Burns Crescent, Bicester, to steal a white Mercedes GLA in June 2018.

But at a hearing at Oxford Crown Court on Monday, Safi, formerly of Wrentham Avenue, Brent, admitted theft of the expensive motor.

In a basis of plea he claimed he’d not realised they were going to Bicester to pick up a stolen car until they were already on their way to Oxfordshire. He’d driven the gang out of London.

Judge Lamb questioned that basis of plea, telling Safi’s lawyer: “It’s an unusual time to be buying a car.”

The basis of plea was not accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service, but Judge Lamb concluded that it would not make a difference to the sentence he was likely to receive.

Paul Lazarus, defending, said his client had been jailed for four-and-a-half years at Southwark Crown Court in May.

Safi was part of a gang that earned £1.1m from text message scam. Victims were scammed into sending over their account details thinking they were being texted by their bank.

Together with another member of the gang, fresh-faced Safi recruited ‘money mules’ whose bank accounts were used to launder the proceeds of the fraud.

Co-defendants Reheem Murdock, 21, of Northwick Road, Wembley, and Omar Sallah, 20, of Marshall Street, Brent, have pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to theft.

They will all be sentenced on November 4.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on news@nqo.com or 01865 425 445.