During their 2020 spree, they targeted Conveyor Works and Briggs and Forrester in Daresbury; Marshall House, 1st Direct Computer, PHX Training, Datatel Solutions in Preston; and Gorilla Glue in Chorley, stealing £994,966.34 worth of laptops, televisions, petty cash and mobile phones.
Their criminality was brought to an end on 1 April 2021 following a burglary at MDS Global in Warrington - where they were caught on CCTV carrying two bags and a clear box full of laptops. They then made off in a silver Doblo van.
Officers attended the home addresses of Stokes and Hughes where they were both arrested and subsequently charged with burglary other than a dwelling.
Following Stokes' arrest, officers discovered a number of stolen items at the property, along with CCTV footage and DNA evidence which linked Hughes and Stokes to the burglaries.
They also recovered a stolen silver Doblo van and cloned number plates.
Following their sentencing Detective Constable Dawn Taylor said: “Many independent businesses are struggling at the moment due to the economic downturn and high energy costs, so the last thing they need is to be targeted by prolific offenders like Hughes and Stokes.
“Not only did they cause tremendous amounts of damage, they also stole thousands of pounds worth of cash and goods from these premises.
“Thankfully, Hughes and Stokes are now behind bars and are being held accountable for their actions. I hope that the sentences handed to them will provide the owners of these businesses with some closure and provide reassurance to other businesses and the communities affected.”