TWO members of a ‘professional’ gang who carried out a ‘well organised’ ram-raid on a village shop have been jailed.

Daniel Moody and Robert Waller were involved in the plot to smash their way into the Co-op store on the High Street in Great Ayton.

Waller was the man behind the wheel of the stolen Mitsubishi pick up when it was used to battered the gang’s way into the shop just after midnight in May last year.

Moody and another accomplice, who can’t be named for legal reasons, got out the vehicle, armed with bolt cutters and a hacksaw, and tried to force their way into the cigarette kiosk.

Teesside Crown Court heard how they were unable to gain entry to the kiosk and fled the scene with a haul of cigarette papers and lighters.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said police quickly arrived on the scene and a high speed pursuit took place with the defendants throwing tools, a car jack and scaffolding pole in a desperate attempt to avoid arrest.

He said: “It (the pick up) was driving off at speed, taking corners on the wrong side of the road which was quite narrow with high hedges obstructing the view; if a vehicle was travelling in the opposite way, a collision would no doubt have occurred.”

Moody, 28, of Birchington Avenue, Grangetown, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to burglary, while 25-year-old Waller, of Broadway West, Dormanstown, Redcar, pleaded guilty to burglary and breach of a suspended sentence.

The Northern Echo: Daniel MoodyDaniel Moody

Nigel Soppitt, for Waller, said his client had turned his life around in the 28 months since the burglary.

He added: "He is aware that if this was normal times then his feet wouldn't touch the ground as he went to prison for this offence."

The Northern Echo: Robert WallerRobert Waller

Mr Soppitt added: "There has been no more offending and no more bad behaviour. He tells me he left drugs behind 22 months ago, he has stopped drinking and he stopped smoking seven months ago. He is now in an enduring, stable relationship."

And John Nixon, for Moody, said his client was now working full time and will soon be a father to his fourth child and urged the judge to spare him an immediate prison sentence.

He added: "He is working hard and working nights between 6pm and 6am, four nights a week, and he is paying his taxes.

Judge Jonathan Carroll jailed Moody for a total of 33 months for the burglary and breach of his suspended sentence and Waller to 30 months in custody for the burglary.

He told the pair they had shown disregard for the safety of the pursuing police when they threw the tools at them and shone a bright torch into the eyes of the driver.

“This was a well planned, complexly executed and professional commercial burglary – colloquially known as a ram-raid. You had not only acquired the stolen vehicle for the ram-raid, you had turned up with bolt cutters and hacksaw to open up the shutters on the kiosk," he said.

"This is the nature of offence that the public would be outraged if you received anything other than an immediate custodial sentence."