ISOLATED farms were targeted at night by a gang of burglars in search of high value machinery they could plunder, a court heard.

But, following a series of break-ins at ten farms, many in remote areas of Teesdale, in which £47,655 worth of equipment was taken, only defendant James Boanson was brought to book, with the help of forensic and phone call trace evidence.

The 29-year-old, of Lewis Road, Darlington, was jailed for 37 months at Durham Crown Court after admitting a charge of conspiracy to steal, with others ‘unknown’, at a recent hearing.

Paul Rooney, prosecuting, said the offences took place between September 1 and October 5, last year.

“The defendant and others, unknown, attended remote farm locations around Forest in Teesdale and Barnard Castle areas, where they entered buildings and either stole, or attempted to steal mainly agricultural equipment, including quad bikes and other tools and items.”

Mr Rooney said most buildings entered were outhouses and barns, although keys to a VW Transporter were removed from a farmhouse lean-to porch.

The £28,000 transporter and a push bike were taken.

Mr Rooney said a glove and an empty bottle of wine, found between the scene of two break-ins, in mid-September, carried dna belonging to the defendant,.

The keys to an Audi car used in one raid were found in the kitchen of a house where he was living, in Darlington, last October, while a mobile phone also recovered, was linked to the vicinity of five farm burglaries.

He denied involvement in the raids in two police interviews and it was only on the day the case went to trial, last month, that he pleaded guilty.

Amrit Jandoo, mitigating, said the defendant was the only person to be found responsible for taking part in the burglaries, when there were clearly others involved.

Jailing him, Judge Christopher Prince told Boanson that farmers in the areas targeted had a hard enough life trying to make a success of their businesses, without the actions the likes of him and his associates.