THREE people have been sentenced for their part in a rural crimewave which included dozens of burglaries across the region.

Vehicles, jewellery and cash worth more than £400,000 was stolen during 38 separate thefts from sheds and outbuildings in rural parts of the Northumbria, Cumbria, Durham, Cleveland and North Yorkshire force areas.

Paul Donoghue, 48, of Stokesley Road, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, and Gareth Huntingdon, 30, of Barnard Avenue, in Ludworth, Durham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle when they appeared at Newcastle Crown Court. Catherine Bird, 34, also of Stokesley Road, Northallerton, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.

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Donoghue was sentenced to six years in prison, Huntingdon to 22 months and Bird for two years jail, suspended for 24 months.

Superintendent Mick Paterson, of Northumbria Police, said: "This was a large and complex police investigation encompassing almost 40 offences across a large rural area of the north.

"We're determined to do everything possible to trace those involved in rural crime and ensure they are dealt with for their actions.

“Often those responsible are from outside the area and travel the country targeting rural areas and we work closely with colleagues at other forces and other partners and communities to bring offenders to justice.

"I hope the sentences passed send out the message to our rural communities that policing operations such as this are taking place to both tackle those involved in rural crime and prevent offences from taking place”.