Four men who targeted farm outbuildings stealing thousands of pounds worth of power tools across north Wales are behind bars.
Farms and properties at Northop, Halkyn, Henllan near Denbigh, near Caernarfon and St Asaph, were among those targeted, according to the prosecution.
The gang was caught following a high-speed chase involving a Honda Accord and a police car on 30 June last year near Deeside industrial estate.
Caernarfon Crown Court heard that brothers Lee Paul Thomas, 37 and Joseph Thomas, 31, as well as James Gallagher, 20 and Martin-Tom Doherty, 22, conspired to steal power tools from farm outbuildings in a series of burglary and theft offences.
Father-of-three Lee Thomas, of Leyton Court, Connah’s Quay, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle, dangerous driving, failing to provide a breath test, burglary, attempted theft, theft and breach of a restraining order. He was sentenced to a total of four years in prison.
Recorder Duncan Bould told the court: “The conspiracy and the offences you and your brother Joseph committed are a series of offences of burglary and theft which targeted largely isolated premises, the outbuildings and garages, targeting items to steal – high-value power tools in the main.”
Recorder Bould said the brothers were working as a team and were prepared to risk contact and/or confrontation with farmers, or people living on farms.
Joseph Thomas, also of Leighton Court, Connah’s Quay, also admitted the same charges, and separate theft and burglary offences. The judge described him as the “leading light in this conspiracy”. He was jailed for up for 40 months.
Mr Gallagher, of Dock Road, Connah’s Quay, a landscape gardener with no previous convictions, admitted conspiracy involving two burglaries at farms. He was jailed for 12 months.
Mr Doherty admitted burglary of a farm outbuilding at Caerwys and stealing two strimmers and piping in a raid last August. His lawyer said he did not accept that he was part of a “wider conspiracy”.
But paving company worker Mr Doherty, of Riverside caravan park, Queensferry, was jailed for eight months.
Speaking after sentencing, detective chief inspector Neil Harrison, of North Wales Police, told the Daily Post that the group was responsible for targeting rural communities on a daily basis.
“They specifically targeted isolated farms and outbuildings and their activities disrupted the working lives of their victims,” said DCI Harrison.
“It was a lengthy investigation and these sentences reflect the harm that they caused and will ensure that members of the rural community are kept safe and allowed to continue with their working lives unhindered.”