TWO members of a travelling gang of criminals who attempted to steal BMW cars valued at £140,000 have been jailed.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Aiden Doherty and William Bates were two of five men who travelled in a Seat Leon from Bolton to Burnley in the early hours of February 8 - along with co-defendants Alex Doherty and Zach Sanderson.

Prosecuting, Joseph Allman said the car went onto Buttercross Close and stopped outside a property where there were two BMWs, a 435 valued at £54,00 and an M5 valued at £87,000, parked on the driveway.

And the property owner Renee Eccles was awoken by the sound of her burglar alarm. When she looked outside she couldn’t see anybody but did notice the security light had not gone on.

Mr Allman said: “It transpired the barrel lock on the side door had been snapped, which would have allowed access to the address. But seemingly nothing was taken because the burglars were shortly after spotted by PC Lee Ingham in a Seat Leon at the junction of Rossendale Road and Manchester Road.”

Mr Allman said PC Ingham was concerned about the poor state of the car and the fact there were five men travelling in it. But before he could turn his patrol car around, the Seat sped off. A pursuit ensued, with the Seat reaching speeds of 70mph in a 40mph zone and driving over a traffic island in Cog Lane, causing sparks to fly from the underside of the car.

Mr Allman said the chase came to an abrupt end when the Seat ploughed into a road sign.

All four defendants ran in one direction – and were subsequently arrested – while the fifth occupant went the opposite way and is still to be found.

In the boot of the Seat - which was on false plates, police found what was described as a ‘burgling kit’, containing hammers, screwdrivers, mole grips,WD40, two-sided tape, gloves and hats.

Aiden Doherty, 19, of Parkfield Avenue, Farnworth, Bates, 24, of Marsh Fold Lane, Bolton, Sanderson, 19, of Simpson Street, Hapton, and Alex Doherty, 29, of Fairfield Road, Farnworth, all pleaded guilty to attempted burglary from a dwelling and going equipped for theft.

Defending both Doherty brothers, Andrew Costello said his clients denied ever getting out of the car in Buttercross Close but accepted they were part of a joint enterprise.

Defending Bates, Hugh Barton said his client’s best mitigation is his guilty plea and he knew he had let his partner and 16-month-old boy down.

Defending Sanderson, Alex Sutton said her client was of previous good character and that his offending had come as a complete shock to his partner and sister who supported him in court.

Judge Stuart Baker jailed Aiden Doherty for 25 months, while Bates received 34 months.

Alex Doherty, a self-employed mechanic and father-of-three, was given a 24-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with a three-month curfew and 200 hours’ unpaid work.

Sanderson was given 21 months in a young offenders institution, suspended for two years, with 180 hours’ unpaid work.