Golf clubs were left thousands of pounds out of pocket after smash and grab raids by a gang of burglars.

Close House, Ponteland and Chester-le-Street golf clubs all suffered extensive damage and had high value items stolen during a spate of attacks.

A court heard Close House, in Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, was broken into on April 2 last year around 2am.

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Jessica Slaughter, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: "A vehicle was reversed into the reception doors and the club shop was burgled by three men."

Some £16,000 of stock was stolen and £6,000 of damage was caused and the club said it had to spend around £50,000 on beefing up security and their insurance rocketed by £6,000.

On April 5, the gang struck at Chester-le-Street Golf Club, in County Durham.

Two men broke into the clubhouse using a hammer and stole historic trophies worth £12,000, many of which had sentimental value. Some were later found in the River Wear.

The hammer was left behind and was found to contain the DNA of those responsible.

Ponteland Golf Club was burgled on April 22, when a flatbed truck was reversed into a wall to gain entry.

Some £20,000 of equipment was stolen and more than £5,000 of damage was caused.

Robert Wall and John Croft were locked up for their involvement last week and now James Wall has joined them behind bars,

James Wall, 35, of Cornhill, West Denton, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle and was jailed for 43 months.

James Wall, jailed for conspiracy to burgle
James Wall, jailed for conspiracy to burgle

Richard Bloomfield, defending, said he should get credit for pleading guilty.

Robert Wall, 32, of Stamfordham Road, Westerhope, Newcastle, who admitted being involved in one burglary and two offences of handling stolen goods, was jailed for two years.

Jamie Adams, for Robert Wall, said he is a former solider and has made good progress since the offences.

Robert Wall, jailed for burglary and handling
Robert Wall, jailed for burglary and handling

John Croft, 33, of no fixed address, admitted conspiracy to burgle and also dangerous driving in a van which rammed a police car and injured an officer. He also admitted blackmail, having an offensive weapon and affray and was jailed for a total of seven years and ten months.

Jonathan Pigford, for Croft, said he had "lost his way" and added: "His behaviour could be described as reckless, cavalier an brazen."

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