Gang of thieves jailed for spree across farms

They crossed the moors steal­ing ve­hi­cles and equip­ment

The Scarborough News - - WELCOME TO YOUR NEWS - By court re­porter news­[email protected] Twit­ter: @TheScar­boronews

Martin and Fitzger­ald bur­gled a home in Skel­ton be­fore driv­ing in search of rich pick­ings in Hut­ton-Le-Hole, Gil­lam­oor and Kirk­by­moor­side.

Be­tween the af­ter­noon of Septem­ber 16 last year and the early hours of the fol­low­ing morn­ing, the two men ram­paged through ru­ral vil­lages, break­ing into se­cured out­build­ings and ter­ror­is­ing vil­lagers.

In Gil­lam­oor, they rode out to an iso­lated field on a stolen quad bike where they rammed a fence, al­low­ing horses to break free.

The owner, who lived at a prop­erty with sta­bles, was awo­ken by her step-fa­ther who had spot­ted the horses run­ning down the street.

An­other landowner in Gil­lam­oor heard a “re­ally loud bang” at the back of his prop­erty be­side a dirt track.

He went out­side to in­ves­ti­gate with his 72-year-old fa­ther and found his wooden field gate had been smashed by a ve­hi­cle.

Out of the dark­ness, a quad drove straight at them, forc­ing them to jump out of the way.

The bike then crashed into a tele­graph pole and “ripped” open a gate. Martin and Fitzger­ald then rode off.

As they headed to­wards Fad­moor, the vic­tim ran into a lo­cal pub and alerted a group of game­keep­ers who got into a car and chased the thieves. A po­lice he­li­copter and the Dog Unit were also de­ployed in the search.

The game­keep­ers caught up with the fleeing pair at a junc­tion, but the quad was re­versed back into their car, caus­ing the bike to top­ple over.

One of the males, thought to be Martin, told the game­keep­ers: “Get back, I’ve got a blade.”

“He put his hand in his pocket as if he was hold­ing some­thing,” said Mr Hor­ton.

“He got the quad up­right but failed to start it, so he pushed it up­hill and went out of sight.”

The £5,000 Honda quad, which had been stolen from a farm in Low Mill, Kirk­by­moor­side, was later found aban­doned and badly dam­aged in a ditch in Farn­dale.

The thieves also stole a £9,000 Gater util­ity ve­hi­cle be­long­ing to the head gamekeeper in Low Mill af­ter ram­ming through a gate.

De­fence coun­sel for the de­fen­dants said they led “chaotic” lives and Fitzger­ald and Gray had drug prob­lems.

Martin, of San­dring­ham Road, Grange­town, was given a four-year jail sen­tence, to run con­cur­rently with his pre­vi­ous one, as well as a two-year driv­ing ban.

Fitzger­ald, also from Teesside but of no fixed ad­dress, was jailed for three years.

Gray, of Skel­ton-in-Cleveland, was jailed for two-and-ahalf years.

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