Brothers who targeted rural Preston, Garstang and Lancaster communities in £1m crime spree are given serious crime prevention orders (SCPOs)

Two brothers who were part of  an organised crime gang that caused misery across rural areas of Lancashire have been slapped with a civil order to prevent future criminal activity.

By Stef Hall
Friday, 31st July 2020, 12:30 pm

When he was arrested, burglar and ATM thief Brian Thexton, 43, told officers: “There will be plenty more holes in the wall before I retire.”

He and his brother Ronald Thexton, 36, both of Park Road, Bishop Auckland, are among six gang members previously jailed in February over their roles in a theft spree between April and September 2018.

The criminal gang broke into homes and businesses, stealing cars, tools, a caravan, jewellery and money, and targeted four ATM machines.

Ronald Thexton (top left), Connor Palmer (top right), Brian Thexton (bottom left), Jordan Fannan (bottom right). (Credit: Lancashire Police)

They stole just under £6,000 from a cash machine in Carnforth, causing around £170,000 worth of damage in the process, but were interrupted by police and ended up fleeing, leaving cash piled in the road.

In May, last year, Lancashire officers launched Operation Irwell in Durham to arrest several members of the gang and Brian Thexton is now serving nine and a half years for two counts of conspiracy to burgle a dwelling in Bolton-le-Sands and three counts of conspiracy to steal.

Ronald Thexton is serving five years 10 months for three counts of conspiracy to burgle a dwelling and three counts of conspiracy to steal.

His crimes included theft of trailers and tools worth £12,800 from a business in Goosnargh, theft of a log splitter worth £10,000 from a business in Silverdale, theft of a £14,000 car from a house in Slyne, Lancaster, theft of a safe from a house in Nateby, and theft of a car, designer handbag and clothes worth almost £64,000, from a house in Halton.

In future if they breach the SCPOS - a civil order - they could face up to five years imprisonment.

During a hearing before Preston Crown Court their legal teams had argued the terms of the SCPO were oppressive and disproportionate.

But Judge Heather Lloyd made a judgement that the orders were "appropriate and proportionate", given their criminal records and the fact they continue to commit crime despite various court sentences and orders.

She added: " Each committed these offences with others, some of whom have been arrested and convicted, and others who have not."

During the same hearing, Judge Lloyd made a confiscation order for co-defendant Connor Palmer, 22, of Burnhope Close, Crook, County Durham,who is serving three years and seven months for conspiracy to burgle a non-dwelling, six counts of conspiracy to steal.

Palmer was found to have benefitted to the tune of £69,350.42 from his crimes, which includes theft of tools and a quad bike from a Silverdale firm, theft of a trailer and tools worth around £19,000 from a Garstang business, theft of a caravan and Land Rover from two businesses in Ellel, theft of £16,000 of agricultural equipment and off-road golf buggies from a Carnforth business , and theft of £15,000 tools from a Goosnargh company.

Judge Lloyd made an order for £11,440 realisable assets to be seized.