Two men who used paving slabs and sledgehammers to smash their way into homes across Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire have been jailed.
Aiden Long, 20, of no fixed abode, and John Stanley, 21, from Sandy, were each sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison at Luton Crown Court on Friday, June 4, after admitting a string of offences where cash, jewellery and cars worth more than £20,000 were stolen.
The spree began on November 24, last year. The pair, who were driving around in a white Suzuki Celerio, broke into homes in School Lane, Cambourne and Rogers Close, Elsworth where jewellery, tools and identification documents were stolen.
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On the same night they travelled to Headlands in Fenstanton armed with a sledgehammer and gloves but were disturbed by the owner who returned home.
On November 29, they struck again in Chestnut Grove, St Neots, using a paving slab to smash into the home and steal £100 in cash.
The same day Long and Stanley made off with a Mercedes A Class after breaking into a home in Armstrong Drive, Bedford, and the white Suzuki was found burnt out in Biggleswade.
The pair then continued the spree together in the Mercedes and using paving slabs to break into homes in Keeley Lane, Wootton, on December 1, and Hereford Road, Luton, on December 2, making off with further jewellery.
It was as they were running away from another home in Orchard Street, Kempston, on December 2, armed with stolen items and masks over their faces that they were stopped by officers on patrol and arrested.
The Mercedes was found parked up nearby full of stolen goods from burglaries. A further search of an address linked to Long found further stolen items, the clothes he was seen wearing on CCTV when breaking into the Cambridgeshire properties and a receipt linking him to the Suzuki.
Long, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to seven counts of burglary and one count of attempted burglary. He also admitted a further 16 offences which were taken into account.
Stanley, of Sandon Close, Sandy, pleaded guilty to four counts of burglary. He also admitted a further 67 offences which were taken into account.
Detective Constable Kevin Howes, from Operation Maze, Bedfordshire Police’s dedicated burglary team, said: “These two young men engaged in a chaotic period of offending last year, when officers from our team caught them in the middle of committing a burglary in Kempston.
“Between this time they were prolific in their offending, targeting many properties across Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, causing pain, heartache and financial loss to many victims.
“Inevitably, burglary can have a long-lasting impact on victims and I hope that those affected are able to find comfort in the knowledge that these men are now serving custodial sentences.
"I hope that these sentences give Long and Stanley time to reflect on their actions and make better life choices in the future. We will continue to work hard to bring offenders to justice.”
If you have been affected by crime you can contact Signpost for free and confidential support, whether the crime has been reported to the police or not.