A DAD has been jailed for three years after breaking into schools with two other men on multiple occasions and causing more than £50,000 worth of damage and stealing equipment.

Craig Taylor, 31, of Caldwell Avenue, Tyldesley, and Cuneyt Bulut, 26, and Blue Richardson, 28, forced their way into five schools between November 2014 and July 2015.

They were looking for high value IT equipment, including laptops, and caused ‘significant’ damage to the school buildings.

Some of the raids involved large holes being ripped through the walls.

Prosecuting, Kyra Badman said: “Each time there was a break in, a crude entry point was used and damage was caused.

“There was a significant degree of loss on each occasion to the schools, which were deliberately targeted.

"There must have been significant planning involved and the defendants went equipped with crowbars.”

Taylor, Bulut, from Little Hulton, and Richardson, who is already serving a jail sentence, all pleaded guilty to the conspiracy at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday.

Defending Taylor, Andrew Scott said: “He had a past when he was younger but completely rebuilt his life.

"He had a relationship and children and trained as a gas fitter, but the relationship broke down and he returned to drugs, and that is the reason he was involved.

“He has let down his grandmother, for whom he is the sole carer, and his 10-year-old son, who he will now have left behind.”

In total the trio are thought to have cost the five schools – all in Warrington – £52,198 worth of damage and equipment.

Culcheth Primary School was broken into four times, Culcheth High School three times and Newchurch Primary School twice.

On one occasion a classroom wall was smashed at Culcheth Primary and 72 mini iPads were stolen.

Bruche Primary School and Hollins Green Primary School were also targeted.

Schools were broken into through the panel of a classroom door or through the roof and sometimes nothing was stolen.

Most of the incidents happened at night and the defendants were identified through their footwear and DNA.

The men were jailed for a total of eight-and-a-half years.

Judge Nicholas Woodward imprisoned Taylor and Richardson for three years each and gave Bulut a two-and-a-half year sentence.