MORE than three decades of jail time has been handed to four men after a spate of burglaries throughout Worcestershire and nearby counties which saw £200,000 worth of jewellery stolen.
Gytis Dambaokas, 30,Tomas Juospaitis, 31, Grazvydas Kasarauskas, 34 and Giedrius Batutis, 33, all claimed their innocence at their first hearings between July and October last year but were all found guilty at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Thursday (June 30) and given a collective sentence of 35 years in prison.
The court heard the group had targeted homes where they believed the residents were on holiday or visiting friends and family before they forced their way in and raid the properties.
They often used a screwdriver to pries open the doors or windows and made off with an estimated £200,000 worth of jewellery.
Detective Sergeant Andrew Chatting, who led on the investigation, said: “These offences were undoubtedly concerning for the individuals targeted by this group of men, who gave no thought to the concern and distress they inflicted on their victims as they proceeded to ransack their homes.
“Thanks to the thorough and detailed investigation conducted by officers in Shrewsbury, West Mercia Police were able to link all the offences. A further phase of the investigation then successfully identified the individuals responsible for more than 120 offences who were until this time unknown to UK police forces.
“We hope that this investigation and sentence will send a strong message to those individuals who are planning to travel and commit serious crime in Warwickshire or West Mercia policing areas and we will work tirelessly to ensure you are identified and brought to justice for your crimes.”
Police are now advising residents to take the necessary steps to protect them homes by leaving the lights on, investing in timer switches, external lighting and to ask a neighbour or friend to keep an eye on the property and give the impression someone is home, especially for vulnerable people.