BURGLARS who ransacked a family’s home were caught in a dramatic police operation after trying to get red diesel from a tractor driver Sherston so they could drive home to Birmingham.

Stephen Rosindale, 29, and Michael Nelson, 25, had ripped open Christmas presents and stolen laptops and jewellery worth more than £7,500 in a break in at Yatton Keynell Swindon Crown Court heard before Judge Douglas Field jailed them both on Thursday.

The pair were arrested hours after the burglary when the tractor driver and town council workers who spotted them flogging jewellery in the Station Yard car park alerted the police.

Crown prosecutor Colin Meeke said they had driven to Yatton Keynell in a stolen Vauxhall Astra on December 9, kicked in the door of a house on the edge of the village and turned the place upside down looking for things to steal.

As well as opened presents, the householder discovered her underwear drawer had been emptied out and enveloped sealed by her daughter for Christmas had been opened in a search for cash.

The intruders escaped with a number of rings, a gold sovereign and three laptops. Until it was recovered one of the daughters feared she had lost two years of university work on one of the machines.

"Meanwhile a local tractor driver on Foxley Road, Sherston, was stopped by the driver of a silver Astra asking if he could provide some red diesel," he said.

"He said he couldn't provide any as it would be illegal and reported the matter to the police and gave details to them."

Shortly afterwards council workers alerted a police community support worker to men selling jewellery in a car park.

When the PCSO spoke to them they gave their names and said they had come on the train from Birmingham before walking off.

When it was realised the break-in had happened a search was launched involving the force helicopter, dogs and response officers and they were found walking towards Kemble having asked locals where the station was.

The Astra was discovered with false number plates and the laptops in the boot, but the jewellery was missing.

Rosindale of Dagnall Rd and Nelson of Tavistock Road, both Birmingham, admitted burglary.

Defending Rosindale, Chris Smyth, said as a result of the offence his client had been recalled to prison on an earlier eight year sentence for robbery and burglary. He was now not due for release until September 2017 and any new sentence would run alongside it.

Alex Daymond, for Nelson, said he was already a three strike burglar so must receive at least three years before getting a 20 per cent discount for pleading guilty.

Judge Field described the incident as a serious case of house burglary. He jailed Rosindale for 20 months and Nelson for two years 146 days.

A third Birmingham man, 20-year-old Luke Hales of Oddingley Road, has pleaded not guilty and is due to appear on March 14 for a pre-trial hearing.