Four men have been jailed for a combined total of 17 years after they admitted being part of a conspiracy to burgle a series of supermarkets.
Bobby-Joe Stanley, 28, of West Road, Sandy, John Stanley, 39 of Hitchin, Billy Foster, 26, and Wayne Loveridge, 24, of Northampton, were involved in the theft of more than £10,000-worth of cigarettes from convenience stores during a three-week period in 2014.
Northampton Crown Court heard the owners of a Co-op store in Desborough, who live above the shop, were awoken by the sound of the metal security shutters being pulled up in the early hours of April 3, 2014.
The shopkeeper found a group of men wearing balaclavas, who were filling up empty bins with packets of cigarettes. He was threatened with a crowbar.
Roxanne Aisthorpe, prosecuting, said the shopkeeper used a metal pole to smash the window of an Audi car being used by the burglars.
A total of £5,000-worth of cigarettes was stolen.
Ms Aisthorpe said a Co-op in Croughton was then targeted on April 15.
Looking out the window, the shopkeeper saw the burglars had attached a large industrial-strength strap to the cash machine in the store, which was then connected to a 4x4 vehicle.
The burglars attempted to pull the cash machine out of the shop but were unsuccessful and left the strap behind.
Police investigators were later able to connect Hadfield, Foster and Loveridge to the purchase of the strap, six days before the break in.
A week later, another attempted burglary took place at The Co-op in Brixworth.
Later the same night, thieves broke into the One Stop Shop, Olney, Buckinghamshire, and stole cigarettes valued at more than £6,000.
Hours later a burglary took place at the Budgens, Stagsden Road, Bromham. More than £1,700-worth of cigarettes were stolen.
An Audi S4 recovered during the investigation was found with approximately £7,000 to £8,000-worth of cigarettes inside, along with a sledgehammer and a crowbar.
The four men pleaded guilty on the first two days of a trial in February this year.
Loveridge and Foster admitted taking part in the burglary in Croughton.
Bobby-Joe Stanley, and John Stanley, of Willowherb Way, Hitchin, pleaded guilty to offences in Brixworth, Olney and Bromham.
Her Honour Judge Lucking said the burglaries were “professionally organised crimes”
She said: “The premises attacked were vulnerable, smaller stores that played a valuable role in their communities.”
Loveridge, Foster and Bobby-Joe Stanley were all sentenced to four years in jail. John Stanley was sentenced to five years in jail as he committed the burglary while he was on licence.