THREE members of a teenage burglary gang responsible for a crime wave in rural villages have been locked up.

Police found an Aladdin’s Cave of stolen property at a den in the garden of a derelict house.

It turned out that 13 houses in the Gronant, Gwaenysgor, Llanasa and Gwespyr areas near Holywell, had been burgled in a matter of weeks, a youth court at Mold was told.

Prosecutor Alun Humphreys said there had only been three house burglaries in the area in the previous four years.

A 17-year-old youth admitted five of the burglaries. A boy aged 16 admitted three burglaries and another boy of 16 admitted three burglaries and two charges of handling stolen goods.

They were all sentenced to 18 month detention and training orders.

Magistrates sitting at a Flintshire youth court at Mold said there was no doubt the offences passed the custody threshold.

There had been a number of burglaries of a relatively high value.

It had been a sustained attack upon the homes of people living in a relatively small rural area .

Solicitors representing the defendants indicated they would be appealing against the sentences to the crown court.

The court heard allegations that the three had been involved in various combinations – and the 17-year-old who pleaded guilty had mostly acted as a look out .

Police found a den containing a large amount of stolen property from the various burglaries and they had been linked forensically to the defendants.

Gronant was a small rural village – a residential area surrounded by fields and farmland.

It was linked to other local villages of Llanasa, Gwaenysgor and Gwespyr by country lanes and footpaths.

It was a quiet area, evidenced by the fact that between 2007 and 2011 only three domestic burglaries were reported in that area, the court heard.

It had a very low crime rate indeed as far as burglaries are concerned. But between April 1 and May 28 this year there were a total of 13 houses burglaries in the area which obviously caused great concern to the local community.