Gang of thieves jailed for spree across farms
They crossed the moors stealing vehicles and equipment
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.