AN organised crime group which travelled from the North-East to Lancashire to raid shops, homes and ATMs are facing jail terms.

The gang targeted remote locations and beauty spots to steal power tools, quad bikes and building equipment.

They even used a JCB to tear cash machines from the walls of three village shops.

Brian Thexton, 43, of Whitelund Road, Morecambe; Ronald Thexton, 36, of Park Road, Bishop Auckland; Andrew Maddox, 39, of Lincoln Drive, Willington, Co Durham; Connor Palmer, 23, of Burnhope Close, Crook; Michael Campbell, 28, of no fixed address, and Jordan Fannan, 28, of Oxcliffe Road, Heysham pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle as they were due to stand trial at Preston Crown Court.

Opening a two-day sentencing exercise, Michael Goldwater, prosecuting, said: "These defendants are all members of an organised crime group based in County Durham.

“Their modus operandi was to travel down to North Lancashire or South Cumbria and carry out burglaries and thefts from commercial premises and also domestic dwelling houses.

“One of their specialities was attacking ATM machines, using a stolen JCB fitted with a telehandler, which is then strapped to the ATM and used to pull the cash machine out of the wall.

“Many of the offences share two characteristics. The target premises are in remote and secluded areas and in many cases, the burglaries or thefts were the produce of careful reconnaissance and planning.”

* On April 4, a cash machine containing £111,000 was torn from the wall of Co-op in Market Street, Carnforth, using a stolen JCB Telehandler and Nissan Pathfinder. Damage to the building totaled £170,000, the court heard.

* On April 27, £12,800 of power tools, including a ride-on mower, a petrol powered wheelbarrow and a wood burning stove were stolen during a burglary at the Beacon Fell visitors centre, in Goosnargh, near Preston. Ronald Thexton admitted he was responsible for the burglary.

* On the weekend of April 27 - 30, Ronald Thexton stole £30,000 of building machinery from a storage container at a builder’s yard in Lindale, Grange over Sands.

* On April 29/30Jordan Fannan and Connor Palmer admitted breaking in to Silverdale Golf Club and stealing a quad bike, power tools and a generator,.

* On May 14/15 Ronald Thexton stole a petrol powered log splitter, worth £10,000 from Jenny Brown’s Point, near Carnforth.

* On May 17 Ronald Thexton stole the keys and a Ford Fiesta from a house in Slynne, Lancaster.

* On May 29/30, Connor Palmer admitted stealing a Toyota Landcruiser from a farm in Kendal.

* On June 1, Ronald Thexton and Andrew Maddox burgled a house in Nateby, near Garstang, and took a safe from the bedroom.

* On June 5 - 6, Andrew Maddox and Connor Palmer admitted burglary of £19,000 of machinery, including a trailer, concrete mixer and a generator, from Cowley Construction, in Catterall, near Garstang

* During a raid at the Smith Green Industrial Estate, Lancaster, a caravan was towed away and a Land Rover was stolen after the gang smashed the gates to gain access to the site.

* On June 27/28 a trailer and crane, worth £19,000 were stolen from Rickerby’s Ltd in Carnforth, during a burglary by Connor Palmer and Andrew Maddox.

* Palmer and Maddox returned to Beacon Fell Visitor Centre on July 3 -4 and stole £15,000 of power tools.

* On 20/21 July Ronald Thexton burgled a house in Mill Lane, Halton, and stole two TVs, a handbag and a £42,000 BMW X5 from the drive.

* On August 24, Brian Thexton and Michael Campbell burgled a house in St Michael’s, near Garstang, and stole an empty gun cabinet from the wardrobe.

* The same day the pair broke into a house in Grange View, Bolton-le-Sands, but did not appear to steal anything.

Brian Thexton also admitted being involved in the thefts of three ATM machines, from a Spar shop in Beetham Road, Milnthorpe, Sainsbury’s in Brandon, Co Durham and a Spar shop in Hambleton, Poulton-le-Fylde.

Mr Goldwater said: “The defendants were known to each other and in general, carried out their crimes in remote and secluded locations to minimise discovery.

“In some cases the defendants stole vehicles for use in the course of further crime - specifically the JCB.”

Judge Heather Lloyd will pass sentence on the gang tomorrow morning.