Dubai: Six men have been accused of forming a gang that specialised in stealing cars that had been abandoned by their owners on the streets for months.

Prosecutors said the six men — four Sri Lankans and two Syrians — would search for deserted cars that had Dubai Municipality warning notices on their windshields.

Then they would wash the cars before breaking the locks open, cutting new keys and driving off.

When the defendants appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance yesterday, they pleaded not guilty.

According to the charge sheet, prosecutors said the suspects, aged between 23 and 46, stole a victim's Toyota Previa car from the Al Qusais Area.

Prosecutors said the Sri Lankan defendants washed the car and waited for the Syrian suspects to break the lock and cut a new key. Then they gave the new key to one of the Sri Lankan suspects, 35-year-old N.H., who stole the car.

An Emirati police major told prosecutors that three of the Sri Lankan suspects had been arrested.

"They confessed that they worked for N.H. Police seized large amounts of liquor bottles hidden in the stolen Toyota," he said.

The major told prosecutors that the three had confessed that N.H. would search for deserted cars with notices from Dubai Municipality on their windshields. The notices informed the car's owners that the cars would be confiscated if they were not moved.

"Then they would clean the cars and wait for the Syrian suspects to open the cars and copy new keys. During questioning, the suspects confessed that they had [stolen] ten cars," the major said.

According to records, one of the Syrian suspects would collect Dh800 for supplying new keys.

The trial continues.