MEMBERS of a burglary gang involving two of the North-East’s most notorious former fugitives have been warned they face jail after admitting their roles in a £1m crime spree.

Brian Thexton, Ronald Thexton, Andrew Maddox, Connor Palmer, Michael Campbell and Jordan Fannan, travelled from the North-East to carry out a six month crime spree across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Between March and September 2018, various members of the gang visited beauty spots including Beacon Fell Country Park in Lancashire, and Jenny Brown’s Point in Silverdale targeting cash machines and high value vehicles.

Following the spree, the Thexton brothers went on the run from police during raids carried out in Witton Park, Crook and Willington.

Police attended a total of 13 properties in Witton Park, Willington, Crook and Stanley Crook, and Morecambe, in Lancashire, involving 150 police officers.

The Northern Echo:

A manhunt was launched by police and the Crimestoppers charity offered a reward of up to £10,000 for information leading to the capture of the two brothers.

The string of alleged offences includes more than 30 burglaries and thefts, including stealing from ATM machines, from cash in transit thefts and robberies from homes.

The Northern Echo:

Police are briefed on raids in May 2019

The total value of the thefts and burglaries committed is believed to have exceeded more than £1 million.

After an extensive search, the pair were arrested in the Ribble Valley village of Gisburn, Lancashire, in July.

Appearing together in the dock at Preston Crown Court, Judge Heather Lloyd warned the group: “All sentencing options are open – custody is almost inevitable.”

The six men, from Durham, Northumberland, and Lancashire, initially denied they were responsible for the crime wave and were due to stand trial at Preston Crown Court on Thursday, January 9.

But after a week of discussions between lawyers, all have now pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle, reflecting their separate roles in the plot.

Brian Thexton has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal.

Discharging the jury, Judge Lloyd said: “I am afraid it is often the case that it is not until the case is about to start that things really start to move. That is human nature, I suppose.”

Brian Thexton, 43, of Whitelund Road, Morecambe; Ronald Thexton, 36, of Park Road, Bishop Auckland; Maddox, 39, of Lincoln Drive, Willington, Palmer, 23, of Burnhope Close, Crook and Campbell, 28, of no fixed address, have been remanded in custody.

Fannan, 28, of Oxcliffe Road, Heysham, has been granted bail.

They will return to court on February 20 for a sentence hearing expected to take two days.

The court will hear statements from many of the victims whose homes and businesses have been targeted by the gang.