TWO men have appeared in court after being arrested during a huge police raid in County Durham.

Andrew Maddox, 39, and Connor Palmer, 22, both of Willington, were arrested last Wednesday during a police operation, which involved about 150 officers raiding a number of properties in County Durham and Morecambe, in Lancashire.

Mr Maddox, of Lincoln Drive, and Mr Palmer, of Burnhope Close, have been charged with conspiracy to steal between March 1 and October 5 last year and appeared at Preston Magistrates’ Court on May 9.

They were remanded until June 11, when they will appear at Preston Crown Court.

The men are alleged to have been involved in an organised crime gang working across the North.

Four other people arrested on the same day have been released under investigation.

A 70-year-old man and 48-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, while a 39-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft and a 24-year-old man was arrested for assisting an offender.

Brian Thexton, 43, and Ronald Thexton, 35, of Witton Park, are both still wanted after making off from the scene.

The early morning raids took place at 13 properties and involved about 150 officers from Durham, Lancashire and Cumbria.