THREE BRADFORD men have been sentenced for the burglary of three farms, with footage released of two of them being caught by police after hiding in a tree.

Ross Sutcliffe, 29, of Stirling Crescent, Bradford, and Abraham Fox, 28, of Rowanwood Gardens, Bradford, were sentenced to two years and eight months at York Crown Court on three counts of burglary, last Friday.

William Lowther, 48, of Copgrove Road, Bradford, was sentenced to two years and four months on three counts of burglary.

North Yorkshire Police and the National Police Air Service (NPAS) have also released footage of the moment the trio were caught (see below).

Lowther is tackled down by a police dog team, hiding under a barrier of the A1.

The 48-year-old tried to escape but was caught by dog, Bobby - who was celebrating his third birthday - as Lowther attempted to get over a six foot fence.

Meanwhile, thermal imaging cameras from the helicopter picked out Fox and Sutcliffe hiding in a tree.

They had discarded their shoes.

This was all just four miles away from the burglaries.

Around twenty officers were involved in the chase for Fox, Sutcliffe, and Lowther.

They sped off on the A1, near Wetherby, after catching the attention of police in a "suspicious looking" stolen Toyota Hilux, during the early hours of Wednesday, January 15.

This was just 20 minutes after the trio had burgled the last of three farms they had targeted in Plompton, near Harrogate.

The burglars snapped the locks to outbuildings in a bid to steal tools. 

The Toyota was taken in a burglary back in November.

Fox, Sutcliffe and Lowther abandoned the car on the roadside, before fleeing on foot.

North Yorkshire Police officers, with the help of the NPAS helicopter and the force's dogs section, were able to hunt down the culprits, as shown in the footage.

Lowther was found with a balaclava, a pair of gloves, and two torches.

Discarded shoes and coats were found by a police dog shortly after.

All three were arrested and appeared before the courts where they each pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary, with their sentencing taking place on Friday, February 21.

Pam Luettke, a Police Investigator at North Yorkshire Police’s Investigation Hub, said: "Waking up in the middle of the night to see people outside your home wearing balaclavas must be one of the most terrifying ordeals you can imagine.

"Unfortunately, we see all too often the distressing and long-lasting impact being burgled can have on victims.

"These criminals thought that by fleeing and discarding their shoes they’d be able to get away with their crimes but they were no match for our officers that morning, not least our police dogs and police helicopter who quickly hunted them out and the investigation team who pulled the case together to put them before the courts.

"These were organised attacks on hardworking people and whilst they admitted their guilt, the gang displayed no sense of shame for what they did and remained unapologetic throughout for the distress they caused.

"It is very satisfying to know that justice has been served for the victims and that Lowther, Fox and Sutcliffe are now behind bars."

NPAS’s Assistant Operations Director (North East and Central), Ian Vause, said: "Using the on-board camera, the helicopter crew located all three suspects, two of which had run across a field and climbed a tree to try and avoid being detained.

"Crew monitored all of the suspects to ensure they didn’t escape and guided officers on the ground to them so they could arrest them.

"This was a great outcome and demonstrates how the NPAS help protect the public 24/7, 365 days a year from the air."

North Yorkshire Police's Commander for Harrogate and Craven, Detective Superintendent Steve Thomas said: "This was an absolutely sterling job by all involved and I’m delighted that we’ve managed to get swift justice for the victims in this case.

"I hope the sentence handed down today reassures our communities, not least our farming community, that we are absolutely committed to tackling and investigating burglaries in North Yorkshire and arresting and charging those responsible."