THREE members of a hole-in-the-wall gang have been jailed after a court heard how they stole motorcycles valued at some £60,000 from a Mid Wales business.

Mold Crown Court heard the men stole a Transit van from Charlie’s Store at Newtown and then cut two holes in the brick wall of the Freestyle Motorcycle store.

They had taken motorcycles, helmets and gloves back to Wolverhampton in the stolen van but were stopped by police when they were making a second trip with another load.

Judge Niclas Parry jailed two of the three and described it as “a professional, sophisticated burglary” of commercial premises.

It involved a gang travelling from the Midlands to strike at businesses in rural Wales, he said.

“You began by breaking into business premises and stealing a van for the purpose of carrying out a sophisticated burglary,” he said.

They then targeted premises for high value goods.

“You were very well equipped, not only with the van, but with tools that enabled you to break through the wall of the premises.

“Property valued at £60,000 was taken – £39,000 worth remains outstanding,” said Judge Parry.

To describe the effect on the business owner as devastating “was an understatement”.

Defendant Craig Everit, 38, of Bilston, Wolverhampton, who appeared at court via a live link from Birmingham Prison, was jailed for 33 months for the burglary – with an additional 24 weeks activated from a previously suspended sentence.

Roger Rogers, 40, of Mervyn of Bradley, Wolverhampton, was jailed for 21 months.

Teenager Mark Selwood, 18, of Tipton, Sandwell, was placed on a 12 month community order with a three month curfew to remain indoors between 6pm and 6am.

They admitted burglary, criminal damage and taking a vehicle without consent.

Prosecuting barrister James Coutts said that at 2.48am on January 2 the police were called to the activation of an alarm at Freestyle, a unit on the St Giles Industrial Estate in Newtown, which sold motorcycles and quad bikes. When they arrived it was apparent that on two sides of the building large holes had been made in the exterior wall. A number of machines had been taken from inside.

Police found a Transit van which had been stolen from Charlie’s store driving about nine miles away from Newtown – and another vehicle travelling which appeared to be trying to block the officers’ attempts to get to the van.

Two men got out and ran away. Selwood, the front seat passenger, was arrested and was found to have a mask in his pocket. The Transit contained six motorcycles and a number of helmets.

It had a tracker which showed it had been driven to the Freestyle company and then travelled to Wolverhampton. But it then immediately returned for a second entry into the premises to collect more motorcycles.

Mr Coutts said it was stopped by police during the second journey back to Wolverhampton.

Wyn Vaughan Hughes, who ran the Freestyle company with his wife, said in a victim impact statement read to the court that the burglary had devastated them and had a massive impact on the business.

The first few days were horrendous when they had to find someone to repair the two holes in either side of the building on a bank holiday.

It had also changed his relationship with customers, he said. He was now more wary of people coming into the store and he was struggling to sleep.

Mr Hughes said that he kept expecting a security firm to ring to say that there had been another burglary.

Sarah Badrawy, for Everitt, said he was very realistic and knew it had to be custody.

It was accepted that he was no stranger to the courts and was on a suspended sentence at the time.

Miss Badrawy said that Rogers at the time had been focused on his own financial difficulties and had since had time to reflect. He was distressed at the effect on the motorcycle business and was truly remorseful. He had been out of trouble for 10 years.

Matthew Curtis, for Selwood, said that he was young, had been in custody since January and on his release intended to return to live with his father and grandmother.