A THIRD burglar arrested in a swoop by police in Malmesbury last month has been jailed.

Luke Hales had denied involvement in a burglary at Yatton Keynell but changed his plea when he appeared at Swindon Crown Court yesterday. He was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment.

Hales, 20, of Oddingley Road, Birmingham, was arrested on December 9 along with two other men in dramatic scenes on the bypass involving the Wiltshjire Police helicopter, dogs and response officers.

Stephen Rosindale, 29, from Dagnall Road and Michael Nelson, 25, from Tavistock Road, also Birmingham, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to the burglary.

Rosindale was recalled to prison on an earlier eight year sentence imposed for robbery and burglary and given a further 20 months for the Yatton Keynell burglary. Nelson was sentenced to two years, 146 days.

After the sentencing Det Cons Jo Chesshire said: “These men had a clear agenda and travelled to Wiltshire with one thought in mind.

"What they didn’t expect was just how vigilant our public are. We responded quickly to initial reports and because of the fantastic co-operation of members of the community we were able to locate and arrest those responsible.

"This case sends a clear message that whilst we are a rural county, we are not an easy target.”

The three men ransacked a house and stole jewellery and laptops worth almost £7500, including presents taken from under the Christmas tree.

On their way back north they attempted to obtain red diesel from a tractor driver at Sherston. Then council workers spotted them selling jewellery to the public in the Station Yard car park and alerted the police.

The men claimed to a PCSO that they had arrived on a train and a short time later asked locals the way to the railway station.

When the householder discovered the break-in a major search was launched and the bungling burglars were caught walking towards Kemble.