Burglars flew to UK to raid Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire country homes

Image source, South Beds News Agency
Image caption,
Kyzysztof Osowski, Slawomir Winiecki and Przemyzlaw Zblewski pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary

A gang of professional burglars flew into the UK to rob country homes before returning to Europe, a court heard.

The Polish gang were jailed after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary at Luton Crown Court.

They had targeted million-pound homes in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

Passing sentence on Wednesday, Judge Richard Foster said: "It has been said an Englishman's home is his castle and the courts are here to protect those homes from people like you."

Przemyzlaw Zblewski, 37, and Kyzysztof Osowski, 36, were each jailed for four years, while Slawomir Winiecki, 49, was jailed for three years and nine months.

A fourth gang member, Michal Barlowski, 44, from Bolingbroke, Luton, admitted handling stolen goods.

He was jailed for six months, but because of time served on remand will be released immediately.

Image source, South Beds News Agency
Image caption,
Judge Richard Foster thanked police for apprehending the "nasty gang of burglars"

The court heard Zblewski, Osowski and Winiecki, who used walkie-talkies to avoid being traced on mobile phones and observed properties using high-powered telescopes, had flown into Luton Airport from Gdańsk on 11 December 2019.

Prosecutor Oliver Doherty said "in the days that followed, two targeted and highly professional burglaries occurred" at properties in Lilley and Preston in Hertfordshire.

He said the gang members had flown home for Christmas before returning in January 2020 to raid three more homes.

The first of those burglaries took place at a 10-bedroom detached country house near Shillington, Bedfordshire.

The court heard a safe containing £20,000, as well as a Range Rover Evoque, a silver jewellery box, wedding rings, a £14,000 diamond engagement ring, and an iPad were taken.

iPad mistake

Mr Doherty said hours later they burgled two homes in Little Gaddesden, Hertfordshire.

He told the court a mistake with the stolen iPad led to their arrests.

The gang had wrapped it in tin foil to mask any signal from its tracker app, but its owner was able to locate it and informed police.

The iPad was traced to Barlowski's home.

Police found a Vauxhall Zafira containing gloves, balaclavas and a crow bar, as well as two stolen safes and jewellery.

Stolen goods were also recovered from Farrow Close in Luton, where Zblewski, Winiecki and Osowski had been staying, and at Barlowski's home.

All four men, who had previous convictions for offences including benefit fraud, theft and burglary in Poland, will be deported when their sentences finish.

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