Lancashire TelegraphGang behind £1.1m East Lancashire car thefts is jailed (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Gang behind £1.1m East Lancashire car thefts is jailed

Lancashire Telegraph: Paul Holden (left) and Damien Royle Paul Holden (left) and Damien Royle

VILLAINS who targeted luxury cars together worth £1.13million have been jailed for a total of almost nine years.

Burnley Crown Court heard how vehicles were stolen from the area in night-time break-ins at 11 homes, last March and April.

Many of the houses were secluded and the victims were usually at home.

Among cars taken were a Bentley Continental Convertible, Audi R8, Audi Q7, Ferrari, BMW X5 as well as a Range Rover Sport, a Ford Focus RS and a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

The gang, from Bradford, broke into homes in rural locations and stole keys to the luxury cars in Briercliffe, Bolton-by-Bowland, Fence, Langho, Rimmington, Barrowford, Bacup, Whitworth and Slaidburn.

They were caught out as they tried to break in to a home in Trawden.

At one property in Slaidburn, a terrified five-year-old girl told her mother she had seen monsters in their home in the night. Her mother thought the child had been dreaming, but then discovered they had been burgled and their car had gone.

Liam Hanbury, 30, of Avondale Road, Shipley, who has 78 offences on his record, Paul Holden, 32, of Leonard Street, Wyke, who has five previous convictions and Damien Royle, 29, of Willow Close, Odsal, who has 31 previous offences, all admitted conspiracy to commit burglary.

Holden, said to have been involved on two nights, moving people and property, received 40 months jail. Royle, who owned up on the basis he was paid £50 after being recruited to drive others to the location, was given five years. Hanbury was remanded in custody to be sentenced this morning ( Tuesday.) Benjamin Lawrence, prosecuting, said the properties picked by the gang were frequently in rural areas and tools were often used to break through doors and windows, with the intention of stealing keys to high-value vehicles. In almost all the burglaries the occupants were at home.

He said: “The defendants were linked by telephone evidence showing their movements. Also the fact that at one of the houses a balaclava belonging to Liam Hanbury was left at the scene. A mobile phone belonging to Paul Holden was left at the scene and a mobile phone which was stolen was recovered at Damien Royle's address."

Mr Lawrence said vehicles worth £1.13million were targeted.

Mr Lawrence said a ‘very limited amount of property was recovered’.

He said: “There is some evidence of vehicles being sold on Auto Trader. One was removed having been cut into pieces for the most part."

Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “This was serious and organised crime, with potentially very high rewards for those who were playing leading roles.”

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