Two men behind a spate of burglaries across Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire have been jailed. Aiden Long, 20, and John Stanley, 21, both from Sandy in Beds were part of gang that struck at homes and business across the two counties.
Cash and jewellery were often what they were looking for, but on once occasion they stole a Mercedes car from outside a property in Bedford.
By switching the number plates on it, the vehicle was then used on further break ins.
On Friday (June 4) Luton crown court was told some of the victims of the gang had been left traumatised and shaken that their homes had been entered and cherished items stolen.
Long of Winchester Road, Sandy and Stanley of Sandon Close, Sandy pleaded guilty to four offences of burglary and theft of the Mercedes all committed between November 29 last year and December 2.
Long admitted two further burglaries committed in November of last year and Stanley admitted handling a stolen bike in August of last year.
In addition Long was asking the court to take into consideration 16 similar offences and Stanley, a further 65 offences which included more burglaries.
The court was told their offending had been carried out in an area stretching from Wootton and Bedford across to St Neots, Camborne, Fenstanton and Elsworth.
Burglaries occurred day and night, and to check if people were in during the day, they would first knock at the door on some pretext.
Entry often meant smashing patio doors at the rear of the house, before ransacking rooms inside for cash and jewellery.
It was in the early hours of November 29 last year that the men were involved in a break-in at a house in Armstrong Drive in Bedford.
A woman and young relative were asleep in the property, but the intruders stole the keys to a Mercedes parked outside and drove it of.
In a break-in at a property in Camborne involving just Long, £20,000 worth of jewellery had been stolen.
The pair were caught on December 2 last year when police spotted them running from a house in Bedford with items stuffed in a pillow case.
The court was told both men in an attempt to make a clean break from their life of crime had helped the police by taking them to areas where they had been operating and pointing out homes they’d entered.
Alex Young prosecuting said in commercial burglaries involving Long, cigarettes had often been the target because they could be easily sold.
A Samurai sword had also been stolen in one break in and shot gun cartridges taken in another. The court was told Long had taken up crime after losing his job as a chef and getting into debt because of his addiction to prescription drugs.
Stanley was said to have got involved in an effort to help Long clear his debts. Both men were said to be determined to serve their sentences and and start afresh.
Recorder David Craig QC sentenced the pair to three years and six months each in a young offenders institution.