A TEEN burglary gang was responsible for a crime wave in rural villages, a court has heard.
Police found an Aladdin's Cave of stolen property at a den in the garden of a derelict house.
It turned out 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 John Wylde said there had only been four three house burglaries in the area in the previous four years.
A 17-year-old youth admitted five of the burglaries and his case was adjourned for sentence. He was warned all sentencing options including custody would remain open.
The cases against two other 16-year-olds were adjourned without pleas being entered.
One faces eight burglary charges and the other six charges.
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 burglaries and they had been linked forensically to the youths.
Mr Wylde told the court Gronant was a small rural village - a residential area surrounded by fields and farmland. It was linked to Llanasa, Gwaenysgor and Gwespyr by country lanes and footpaths.
“It is a quiet area, evidenced by the fact that between 2007 and 2011 only three domestic burglaries were reported in that area,” he said. “It had a very low crime rate indeed as far as burglaries are concerned.”
But between April 1 and May 28 there were 13 houses burglaries in the area which obviously caused great concern to the community.
“Needless to say, since the arrests of the three defendants and number of burglaries has dropped again,” he said.
During police investigations a den was found in the garden of an abandoned property and items of stolen property taken in the burglaries were found inside.
One man went to work and returned home to find a rear patio door had been smashed and a flat screen television, a laptop computer and a mobile phone had been stolen.
Another man returned from work to find a glass panel broken in a rear door and a laptop had been taken. The owner of one property spent part of the year in Portugal and they returned to find a large quantity of items including jewellery and coils had been taken. That property was next door to where the den was later found.
A nurse who worked nights returned home after visiting her elderly mother to find that the rear patio door had been forced and jewellery and an ipad had been taken.
The 17-year-old admitted involvement in all those offences.
Brian Cross, defending, said his client had no previous convictions but had received a warning for a burglary.
He had co-operated with the police and entered guilty pleas at the earliest possible opportunity.
He was attending college full time and accepted full responsibility.
Magistrate Allan Bissell told the youth it was a very serious matter with aggravating features. It was group action involving multiple offences of burglary.
A pre-sentence report was needed but a detention and training order would be an option.
The youth was bailed on condition he lived at his home, stayed indoors at night and did not associate with co-defendants.