Four men have been jailed for conspiracy to burgle a number of convenience stores, including one in Olney.
Bobby-Joe Stanley, John Stanley, Billy Foster and Wayne Loveridge were involved in the theft of more than £10,000 pounds worth of cigarettes from stores during a three-week spree in April 2014.
Northampton Crown Court heard one store owner was awoken by a noise and went downstairs to find a group of men wearing balaclavas filling up empty bins with packets of cigarettes.
He was threatened with a sledgehammer by one of the burglars.
Another Co-op in Croughton was then targeted shortly afterwards, and this time the gang of four attached an industrial-strength strap to the cash machine then connected it to a 4x4 vehicle.
They then attempted to pull the cash machine out of the shop but were unsuccessful, the court heard.
A week later they struck again at a Co-op in Brixworth, but failed to gain entry and drove away.
Later the same night, the undefeated thieves managed to broke into the One Stop Shop in Olney and stole a large amount of cigarettes, valued at more than £6,000.
Hours later they targeted a Budgens in Bromham, stealing more than £1,700 worth of cigarettes.
All four men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle. Loveridge and Foster admitted taking part in the burglary in Croughton and Bobby-Joe Stanley and John Stanley 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. The damage caused to the stores and the subsequent disruption to the community was significant.”
Loveridge, Foster and Bobby-Joe Stanley were all sentenced to four years in jail while John Stanley was sentenced to five years.
Detective Constable Alex O’Meara, from the Organised Crime and Drugs Team, said: “We’re extremely pleased with the sentences handed down today. This is yet another firm message to those intending to commit crime in Northamptonshire and a reminder that our investigations are not obstructed by county borders.
“The team will continue to work tirelessly to robustly tackle cross-border crime.”