Three burglars who went on an afternoon crime spree across south Hertfordshire and north London were tracked down in a pub car park.

John Cawley, 24, Martin Cassidy, 27, and Errol Flynn, 25, were caught on CCTV paying for food at the pub with wads of notes stolen during their crimes.

They were jailed for a total of twelve years and nine months at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday.

The court heard how they stole jewellery, thousands of pounds in cash and a safe in a series of crimes in Borehamwood, Shenley, Pinner, Harrow and Bushey.

They also tried to steal a sports car in the spree on August 14, 2017.

Using a stolen Mercedes with fake number plates to drive from house to house, the three eventually decided to get something to eat at a Harvester restaurant in Bushey.

There, said prosecutor Jan Haynes, CCTV caught Cassidy and Cawley standing at the bar and paying with money from thick wads of cash taken in the break-ins.

The gang first struck early that afternoon in Borehamwood when Flynn, on his own, broke into an unoccupied house in Ashley Drive.

He took £2,000 in cash, along with jewellery and a wedding ring.

Half an hour later, Cawley tried to steal a BMW sports car parked outside the owner’s home in Shenley.

Luckily the owner’s wife saw him trying to get into the car and Cawley was forced to make off empty handed, running back to the Mercedes.

The gang then made their way to Pinner where Cawley broke into a property in Royston Park Road and stole a safe and its contents.

From there the gang drove to Harrow, but were forced to make off from a house in Jubilee Close they broke into after being spotted.

In Great Grove, Bushey, Cassidy and Flynn broke into a house taking jewellery and thousands of pounds in cash.

But by now police were on the trail of the gang.

They knew the burglars were using the Mercedes and found it in car park of the Harvester restaurant in Bushey.

The gang tried to get away and there was a short car chase.

Flynn headed for Stanmore, and drove dangerously in Stanmore Hill and other roads in Bushey.

He was brought to a halt when police deployed a “stinger”, which punctured a tyre on the car.

Cawley was found hiding in shrubbery with £565 from the break-ins stashed in his pockets.

The other two were arrested later, having fled from the scene.

Jailing the men, Judge Stephen Warner described the gang’s crime spree as a “planned, professional operation.”

He told them: “It's quite clear there was a callous indifference to the feelings of people whose homes you had broken into.”

Cawley, of no fixed address, who admitted handling, the attempted theft of the BMW and burgling the property in Pinner, was jailed for a total of three years and three months.

Cassidy, of Stanborough Avenue, Borehamwood, who admitted handling, attempted burglary at the Harrow property and breaking into the house in Bushey, was jailed for four years.

Finally Flynn, of Hillary Road, Shepherds Bush, who admitted dangerous driving, burglary at the Borehamwood property and the burglary at the Bushey address, was jailed for five and a half years.

He was also banned from driving for six years and 11 months and told he will have to take an extended driving test before he can get behind the wheel of a car again.