A THIRD member of a gang of car thieves who targeted luxury vehicles worth more than £1.1million, has been locked up for five years.

Liam Hanbury, 30, had been linked with the crimes after leaving his balaclava outside a house which the gang had been trying to burgle in Trawden and because of telephone evidence.

Hanbury, who has almost 80 offences on his record, was said to be in debt due to a gambling habit at the time.

Prosecutor David Pickup told Burnley Crown Court: “The prosecution case is that Liam Hanbury is a principal player in the conspiracy.”

The defendant, of Avondale Road, Shipley, had earlier admitted conspiracy to commit burglary. His accomplices, Paul Holden, 32, of Leonard Street, Wyke, and Damien Royle, 29, of Willow Close, Odsal, were jailed on Monday for 40 months and five years respectively, after admitting the same offence.

The court has earlier been told how high-value vehicles to the tune of £543,000 were taken from the area in night-time raids at 11 homes across East Lancashire, in March and April last year.

Many of the houses were isolated, the victims were usually asleep in their beds and the gang used tools to break though doors and windows. The crooks broke into the houses to steal keys so they could drive off in expensive cars.

At one property in the Slaidburn area, a terrified little 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 been taken.

Shufqat Khan, defending Hanbury, told the hearing at the time he was involved in the conspiracy, he was a gambler, a selfish man and had committed many different offences. Hanbury, who had suffered from ADHD all his life and was of " extremely low intelligence "had been in financial difficulties due to his gambling. He had since sought help.

Mr Khan said the defendant was recruited by others and played a limited role. The barrister continued :" He's neither an organiser nor an instigator in relation to this conspiracy. It was already in existence at the time he became involved in it."

Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gibson told Hanbury :"This was a serious and organised conspiracy. The vehicles that you stole appear to have been disposed of more or less without trace and it's clear certain individuals were making a great deal of money out of what was going on."

The judge continued :" It's plain you are of low intelligence and unlikely to be the sort of person who could have masterminded a conspiracy of this kind."