TWO men broke into a farmer’s shed and stole two quad bikes worth around £2,500.

Albert Virr, who pleaded guilty, and Shane Dickson, who was found guilty by jury at a trial, were sentenced at Preston Crown Court.

The court heard how, on the evening of May 15, 2018, Virr and Dickson, along with a third defendant, Christopher Somma, travelled from their homes in West Yorkshire, to Hyde Farm Cottage in Newton-in-Bowland.

The three men, who were travelling in a silver Ford Transit van, broke into a shed in which the farmer kept his quad bikes, put them into the back of the van, and drove in the direction of Bradford.

Prosecuting, Shirlie Duckworth said: “The defendants used some of the farmer's tools they had found to break into the shed and steal the bikes.

“At around 12.45am, a police officer was parked on Keighley Road when the van drove past him.

“The officer’s suspicions were raised when the driving became erratic so he followed them and all three were arrested on suspicion of theft.

“The farmer, who used the bikes as part of his work on the farm, was then contacted by the police and the bikes were returned to him.

“In his personal statement he said he has now had to change how he looks at his surroundings. Before this incident he would feel comfortable leaving his equipment outside but now he has been forced to lock it away.

“He also said his children no longer feel safe to go out into the fields at night.”

The value of the quad bikes was around £2,500 and, despite them being returned to the victim, he still had to pay for the ignitions to be fixed after the defendants had tampered with them.

Sentencing Virr and Dickson, who have 47 convictions for 102 offences between them, Judge Simon Newell said: “This was a rural area of East Lancashire and you travelled some distance to get the bikes which must’ve taken planning and time.”

Virr, of March Cote Lane, Bingley, was given a 40 week sentence suspended for 18 months, while Dickson, of Old Road, Thornton, received 50 weeks, also suspended for 18 months.

Both men were ordered to carry out 20 days of rehabilitation activity and 120 hours of unpaid work.

Somma, 39, of Coal Lane, Halifax, who is currently serving a 25-month sentence, will be sentenced later.

Judge Newell said their sentence would be up for review on August 30 in which time he expected the defendants to have completed at least 40 hours of unpaid work.