TWO brothers have appeared in court after being charged as part of a major investigation into an organised criminal gang.

Brian Thexton, 43 and Ronald Thexton, 35, were arrested on Thursday in Lancashire.

They have now been charged with conspiring to steal and conspiring to commit a burglary with intent to steal and appeared at Preston Magistrates' Court on Saturday.

The brothers, who are originally from Witton Park, near Bishop Auckland, were remanded in custody during the short hearing.

Brian Thexton, of White Lund Road, Morecambe and Ronald Thexton, of Park Road, Witton Park, are due to appear at Preston Crown Court on August 16. 

The pair had been wanted by police in connection with a criminal gang believed to be responsible for thefts and burglaries committed in north Lancashire and northern England in the last year totalling more than £1million.

They were arrested in the Gisburn area of Lancashire on Thursday.