Three men who stole high performance cars from homes across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire have been jailed for a total of 24 years.
Leicester Crown Court heard this month how Grant Johnson, Dane Shaw and Karl Morley targeted a string of homes during an eight-month crime spree in 2012.
Detectives from Derbyshire Constabulary and Nottinghamshire Police began separate investigations following reports of burglaries in April that year.
Police stated that in the majority of the incidents, the suspects used tools to force their way inside the homes before searching for car keys and taking vehicles.
Working together, officers from both forces began a two-year investigation, piecing together evidence, gathering intelligence and trawling mobile phone records in order to build a case against Johnson, 28, Shaw, 25 and Morley, 25.
A total of 47 incidents were linked to Johnson, Shaw and Morley, in which cars, including Audis, Volkswagens, Mazdas, BMWs and a Porsche were stolen, according to police.
They committed 23 offences in Derbyshire targeting homes in Chesterfield, Buxton, Killamarsh, Eckington and Dronfield stealing a total of 15 cars.
The court heard how the trio, from Sheffield, confronted one elderly victim in his home on Holymoor Road, Chesterfield on July 15, 2012.
Police said the 76-year-old victim had gone downstairs to make a drink at around 3am and saw a man stood outside his kitchen window.
The victim then heard a glass panel in his front door being smashed and one of the men forced his way into the house, according to police.
The victim’s car keys his VW Golf were stolen, said police, and the car was crashed and abandoned nearby and a pair of mole grips and a face covering were found discarded by officers.
Morley’s DNA was found on the face covering.
Johnson, formerly of Walthe Road, Sheffield, Shaw, formerly of Paddock Crescent, Sheffield, and Morley, formerly of Spinkhill Road, Sheffield, were all charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and theft, between 1 March 2012 and 10 November 2012 in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire.
They also faced an additional charge of conspiracy to commit theft of motor vehicles between the same dates.
The trio pleaded guilty to both sets of offences at an earlier hearing in March and appeared at Leicester Crown Court on Wednesday, April 16, where Morley was sentenced to nine years, Shaw eight years and Johnson seven and a half years. Det Insp Julian Wilson, from Chesterfield CID, said: “This was a long and complex investigation, with officers from three counties working together to bring these men to justice.
“Johnson, Shaw and Morley used sophisticated techniques and carried out targeted burglaries, stealing cars with a combined worth of more than £600,000.
“Many of their crimes had a profound and lasting effect on their victims.
“The sentences handed down to these men reflect the severity of their crimes and we hope they will act as a deterrent to other would-be burglars.”
Det Insp Richard Monk, from Ashfield CID, said: “This was a calculated, highly organised and pre-planned operation in which Johnson, Shaw and Morley picked their targets based on the value of the vehicle parked outside.
“They used the same system in every incident – silently forcing their way into a house, searching the property by torchlight and snatching the car keys.
“They would then drive in convoy to a car park where the stolen vehicle would be left overnight – giving them enough time to obtain false plates. The next morning they would return to move the car before selling it on, repeating this routine at locations across three counties.
“A dedicated team of officers from both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire have worked tirelessly for two years to build a robust case against these three men who not only intruded on the lives of innocent victims, shattering their sense of security and making them feel vulnerable in their own homes.”