A “professional thief” has been jailed for his part in an audacious raid on a builder’s site in which over £1,000 of tools and equipment were stolen.
Christopher Clymo, 44, was part of a roving gang of thieves who travelled from Shotton Colliery to break into the builder’s yard in Selby, North Yorkshire.
The four-man team raided the secured building site in the early hours of December 20 last year when they forced a window open to break into a Portakabin office, York Crown Court heard.
They stole keys to six container units on the site which were raided and ransacked, said prosecutor Neil Coxon.
Various building equipment was stolen including plumbing tools, kitchen appliances such as ovens, piping, wall tiles, plastering materials, expanding foam and paint.
Mr Coxon said the stolen items were worth an estimated £1,415. The thieves had also caused £200 of damage.
Members of the public spotted the gang loading equipment onto vans in the early hours and alerted police, who found the two vehicles being driven along the A19.
The three police vehicles followed the BMW and VW vans onto the A64 and A1 as they headed north.
The vans were pulled over and the thieves arrested. All the stolen equipment was recovered.
Clymo, Lewis Gumm, aka Armstrong, 28, Robert Pearce, 25, and Liam Stevenson, 24, have all now admitted burglary.
They told police they raided the site because they were short of cash and wanted to make some money for Christmas.
Mr Coxon said they had travelled to North Yorkshire from Shotton Colliery specifically to target the building site.
He said burly Clymo, a married father, was the most heavily-convicted, with nine previous burglaries and two handling stolen goods offences to his name. He had 26 previous convictions in total for 53 offences.
At the time of the Selby raid, he was on a suspended prison sentence for handling stolen digger buckets.
Defence counsel for the four men said they were all fathers with partners and claimed that the burglary was opportunistic rather than targeted.
But Judge Paul Batty described the defendants as a “travelling gang of thieves” and branded Clymo a “professional thief”.
“You were driving two vehicles from County Durham to Selby because you had anticipated loading them up, no doubt to the gunnels, and then selling on what you had stolen for profit,” added Judge Batty.
“This was professional crime and each of you perfectly well knows it, and the notion that you were simply out for a drive and that this was opportunist is quite simply moonshine.”
Clymo, of Hillcrest Place, Hesleden, near Hartlepool, was jailed for 14 months for burglary and breaching a suspended sentence.
Gumm, of Church Street, Hesleden, Pearce, of William Morris Terrace, Shotton Colliery, and Stevenson, of Bruce Glazier Terrace, Shotton Colliery, were each given eight-month suspended jail terms with five-month nightly curfews and 200 hours’ unpaid work.