THREE burglars described by a judge as part of a professional travelling crime gang have each been jailed for 21 months for a North Yorkshire farm raid.

Bradley Stevenson, Jordan Woolhouse and Aaron Calladine were stopped by police as they travelled in a van on the B6255 towards Ingleton, near Hawes, last October.

The same van had been spotted earlier with another van near Hawes by a local resident who, suspicious following a number of recent burglaries, reported it to police.

Victoria Lambelle, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said a padlock found in the van was forensically linked to a set of bolt croppers found at the scene of a garage burglary at a farm in the area in which two quad bikes and electrical equipment were taken.

Stevenson, 22, Woolhouse, 24, and Calladine, 20, at first told police they were simply going for a drive, but later admitted a joint charge of burglary.

Calladine, of Rotherham, also pleaded guilty to a charge of escaping from police custody during his arrest.

Robert Mochrie, for Stevenson, of Sheffield, said he had fallen in with the wrong crowd and had now moved away from some of his old associates.

Woolhouse, of Rotherham, was said to recognise the consequences of the crime and had demonstrated remorse.

Calladine, said he was not involved in the planning or organisation of the raid and remained in the vehicle to act as a lookout.

Judge Sean Morris ignored pleas from the defendants’ barristers to avoid an immediate prison sentence and said all three had “played the system”.

He said: “You did not even have the guts to own up to this when the evidence was overwhelming."