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Gang jailed for 29 years after major thefts across Lancashire

Friday, February 21, 2020

A gang of thieves which caused misery across our rural communities has been jailed for a total of 29 years.

Six members of an organised crime group, which operated mainly in north Lancashire and south Cumbria, appeared at Preston Crown Court this week (February 20th and 21st) to be sentenced for the parts they each played in a series of thefts carried out between April and September 2018.

During the crime spree members of the gang broke into domestic properties and businesses, stealing thousands of pounds worth of property. They also stole vehicles and targeted four ATM machines.

The gang also caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to property.

In total the value of property stolen and the amount of damage caused totalled hundreds of thousands of pounds.

All six men initially denied their involvement, but eventually pleaded guilty at court.

Today they were sentenced to the following:

  • Brian Thexton, 43, of Park Road, Bishop Auckland, was sentenced to 9 years six months for two counts of conspiracy to burgle a dwelling and three counts of conspiracy to steal
  • Ronald Thexton, 36, of Park Road, Bishop Auckland, was sentenced to 5 years 10 months for three counts of conspiracy to burgle a dwelling and three counts of conspiracy to steal
  • Michael James Campbell, 28, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 2 years 5 months for two counts of conspiracy to burgle dwelling properties
  • Connor Palmer, 22, of Burnhope Close, Crook (Co Durham), was sentenced to 3 years 7 months for conspiracy to burgle a non-dwelling, six counts of conspiracy to steal
  • Andrew Maddox, 40, of Lincoln Drive, Willington (Co Durham), was sentenced to 5 years for conspiracy to burgle a dwelling, six counts of conspiracy to steal
  • Jordan Fannan, 28, of Oxcliffe Road, Morecambe, was sentenced to 2 years 8 months for two counts of conspiracy to burgle a non-dwelling

 

The group targeted rural businesses and properties, stealing cars, tools, a caravan, jewellery and money, among other things. They also made off with £115,490 after stealing an ATM machine from a supermarket in Durham and broke just under £6,000 out of a cash machine in Carnforth, though were interrupted by police and ended up fleeing the scene, leaving the cash in a pile of rubble in the road. The ATM attack in Carnforth caused around £170,000 worth of damage.

In May, last year, officers from Lancashire led an operation – codenamed Operation Irwell – in Durham to arrest several members of the gang. During the raids, Brian and Ronald Thexton fled from police and were wanted until July when they were arrested at a campsite in the Gisburn area of Lancashire.

Ch Insp Rebecca Smith, from Lancashire Police, said: “This was a challenging enquiry into an organised crime group who were responsible for a high number of ATM attacks and commercial and residential burglaries which took place in three counties across the north of England. The victims of these thefts ranged from large national companies to individual people who were targeted at home.

“The gang predominantly struck in isolated areas, stealing high-value items, many of which their victims depended on for their livelihoods. They gave no thought whatsoever to the effect they were having, both financially and emotionally, on those they stole from.

“I am pleased that the Thexton brothers were apprehended after going on the run and that they, and their accomplices, are now facing a significant amount of time behind bars.

“I hope these sentences send a message that at Lancashire Police we place huge importance on tackling serious organised crime. This type of activity has a significant negative impact on communities and while those responsible benefit significantly from their crimes, their victims suffer serious and far-reaching consequences. We are committed to protecting our communities by disrupting and preventing it.

“We will leave no stone unturned in tracking down those responsible and bringing them to justice. Those who think they can come to Lancashire and commit crimes such as these will not be made welcome.”

Some of the items stolen by the gang have been recovered. We will now look at pursuing the gang under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The list of incidents each defendant pleaded guilty to is as follows:

Brian Thexton:

  1. 24/8/18 – burglary at houses in Bolton-le-Sands
  2. 13/9/18 – theft of an ATM machine from the Spar shop, Milnthorpe
  3. 15/9/18 - theft of an ATM machine from the Spar shop, Hambleton
  4. 17/9/18 - theft of an ATM machine at Sainsbury’s, Brandon, Durham

 Ronald Thexton:

  1. 27/4/18 – theft of trailers, a stove, a motorised wheelbarrow, mower and tools worth £12,800 from a business in Goosnargh
  2. 27-28/4/18 – theft of tools worth just over £30,000 from a house in Grange-over-Sands
  3. 15/5/18 – theft of a log splitter worth £10,000 from a business in Silverdale
  4. 17/5/18 – theft of a car worth an estimated £14,000 from a house in Slyne, Lancaster
  5. 1/6/18 – theft of a safe from a house in Nateby
  6. 21/7/18 – theft of a car, designer handbag and clothes and two televisions, worth a total of almost £64,000, from a house in Halton
  7.  

Michael Campbell:

  1. 24/8/18 – theft of a gun cabinet (empty) from a house in St Michaels
  2. 24/8/18 – burglary (nothing stolen) at house in Bolton-le-Sands

Andrew Maddox:

  1. 29/5/18 – theft of a car worth £3,500 from a farm in Kendal
  2. 1/6/18 – theft of a safe from a house in Nateby
  3. 5-6/6/18 – theft of a trailer and tools worth around £19,000 from a business in Garstang
  4. 7-8/6/18 – theft of a caravan and Land Rover from two businesses in Ellel (on the same night) worth a total of around £26,000
  5. 28/6/18 – theft of agricultural equipment including a trailer, a mobile engine crane and off-road golf buggies worth around £16,000 from a business in Carnforth
  6. 4/7/18 – theft of around £15,000 worth of tools from a business in Goosnargh

 Connor Palmer:

  1. 29/4/18 – theft of tools and a quad bike from a business in Silverdale
  2. 28-29/5/18 – theft of a car worth £3,500 from a farm in Kendal
  3. 5-6/6/18 – theft of a trailer and tools worth around £19,000 from a business in Garstang
  4. 7-8/6/18 – theft of a caravan and Land Rover from two businesses in Ellel (on the same night) worth a total of around £26,000
  5. 28/6/18 – theft of agricultural equipment including a trailer, a mobile engine crane and off-road golf buggies worth around £16,000 from a business in Carnforth
  6. 4/7/18 – theft of around £15,000 worth of tools from a business in Goosnargh

 Jordan Fannan:

  1. 5/4/18 – theft of an ATM machine from Co-op in Carnforth
  2. 29/4/18 – theft of tools and a quad bike from a business in Silverdale, worth a total of almost £14,000

 

 

 

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