Two Birmingham animal rights fanatics are facing lengthy jail terms after admitting charges linked to a terror campaign which culminated in the theft of a pensioner's body from her grave.

The victims of the six-year campaign ran a guinea pig farm providing animals for medical research. They eventually abandoned the business in the face of the intimidation.

Kerry Whitburn, 36, of Summer Road, Edgbaston, yesterday admitted conspiring to blackmail David Hall and Partners and others connected to Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch, Staffordshire, between September 1999 and September 2005. Josephine Mayo, 38, of Spring Bank Road, Edgbaston, admitted the same offence today at Nottingham Crown Court.

Activists John Smith, 39, of Leicester Street, Wolverhampton, and John Ablewhite, 36, of Hawley Street, Manchester, also admitted the charge yesterday.

Judge Michael Pert QC described them as "determined and cold-blooded defenders of their perceived cause".

He told Ablewhite, Smith and Whitburn to expect sentences of up to 12 years for their part in the blackmail plot when they are sentenced next month. The maximum sentence is 14 years.

Mayo was told her part warranted no more than six years behind bars.

The campaign of intimidation and harassment against the Hall family and their employees at Darley Oaks began in 1999 as they faced demands to close the site.

The family was subjected to regular demonstrations from protesters and a violent campaign of intimidation and harassment was launched.

In October 2004 the fanatics proved they would stop at nothing to achieve their goal.

The remains of 82-year-old Gladys Hammond - the mother-in-law of one of the brothers who owns the farm - were dug up and removed at night from the graveyard of a church in Yoxall, Staffordshire.

The family was told that Mrs Hammond's remains would be returned if its guinea pig operation ceased.

See Wednesday's Post for more on this story