Trio sentenced for £400k-worth of rural crimes

Three people have been given prison sentences after pleading guilty to a number of rural crimes across five different police force areas.

Paul Donoghue, 48, Catherine Bird, 34, both from Northallerton, and Gareth Huntingdon, 30, from Durham, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday.

Donoghue and Huntingdon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle between June 7, 2013, and November 12, 2013. Bird pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.

Donoghue was sentenced to six years, Huntingdon 22 months and Bird two years, suspended for 24 months.

The investigation related to burglaries of sheds, garages and outbuildings and thefts in rural areas of the Northumbria, Cumbria, Durham, Cleveland and North Yorkshire forces.

And 14 of the 38 separate offences, which saw property worth a total of £400,000 being stolen took place in Northumbria.

Northumberland Area Command Superintendent Mick Paterson said: “This was a large and complex police investigation encompassing almost 40 offences across a large rural area of the north.

“We’re determined to do everything possible to trace those involved in rural crime and ensure they are dealt with for their actions. Often those responsible are from outside the area and travel the country targeting rural areas and we work closely with colleagues at other forces and other partners and communities to bring offenders to justice.

“I hope the sentences passed send out the message to our rural communities that policing operations such as this are taking place to both tackle those involved in rural crime and prevent offences from taking place.

“We’re committed to ensuring our rural areas remain a safe place to live and operations such as this are ongoing to tackle those causing the most harm to our communities.”