A GANG responsible for 26 two-in-one burglaries will have to wait until next week to be sentenced for their part in the scam which netted £300,000 worth of cars.

High value cars including BMWs and Audis were stolen before being sold on with fake number plates or broken down and sold as spare parts.

The eight members, who were arrested as part of Operation Parker, targeted 26 homes in Middlesbrough and Stockton over a six-month period.

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Barristers representing the defendants spent several hours mitigating on behalf of their clients at Teesside Crown Court today (Friday, March 28).

The court heard the gang, who all pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, often gained access to properties through insecure doors, forced entry or by ''fishing'' through letter boxes for keys.

The vast majority of the thefts occurred while the victims were home late at night.

The eight in the dock at Teesside Crown Court for conspiracy to burgle homes were Trevor Keenan, 30, formerly of Keith Road, Grove Hill, Middlesbrough; Ashley Brown, 23, of Askham Close, Middlesbrough; Lee-Jay Brown, 20, of Holme House Prison; Luke O'Neill, 20, of West Lane, Whinney Banks, Middlesbrough; Donovan Hackleton, 21, of Ayresome Street, Middlesbrough; and Bradley Anderson, 20, of Brompton Street, Middlesbrough. John Jospeh Wilkes, 37, of Lulsgate, Thornaby, and Philip Mark Johnson, 39, of Rutherglen Walk, Stockton, are facing charges of handling stolen goods.

Keenan, Ashley Brown, Lee-Jay Brown, Hackleton and Anderson were remanded in custody, and Wilkes, Johnson and O'Neil were released on bail.

All eight are due to be sentenced on Tuesday morning.