A burglar has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment after West Midlands Police linked him to a series of crude break-ins at apartments in the Jewellery Quarter.

Craig Reid kicked open front doors of flats during a summer crime spree that saw him steal property approaching £100,000 in value, including designer watches, computers, fragrances, jewellery and two brand new Audis.

It came to an abrupt end in the early hours of 13th July when West Midlands Police detectives spotted him behind the wheel of an Audi A1 he’d taken just hours earlier from an apartment complex in Hall Street.

The 37-year-old inadvertently pulled in front of an unmarked police car patrolling in the Tile Cross areas on the lookout for the stolen car.

He tried fleeing after the officers followed him onto a petrol station forecourt − but he was quickly chased down and detained in the street.

Images found on a digital camera in the car led officers to an address in Coventry Road, Southam that was broken into on 12th July.

Specialist crime scene investigators also matched the distinctive sole on Reid’s Nike trainers to a footwear impression taken from one of two flats in St George’s Court, Carver Street, attacked on 20th June.

And CCTV enquiries also linked Reid, of no fixed address, to a burglary in the Jewellery Quarter’s New Hampton Lofts on 5th July and Townsend Way on 7th June where front doors had both been kicked open.

Reid refused to answer questions during interview but in the face of compelling evidence he went on to admit four burglaries and two counts of car theft.

And at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday (10/09) he was jailed for a total of seven years.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Mark Timmins from West Midlands Police’s Force CID, said: “These were crude break-ins: Reid simply kicked at the front doors of apartments to gain entry.

“We were seeing a spate of similar break-ins and recovered an Audi A3 on July 9 being driven in Tile Cross Road days after it was stolen during the New Hampton Lofts burglary; the man we arrested claimed he’d ‘borrowed’ the car!

“Based on that we got an unmarked patrol car out in the Tile Cross area when another burglary was reported in Hall Street on 13 July. The Audi A1 literally pulled out of a side street right in front of our vehicle and this time Reid was behind the wheel.

“He pretty much fell into our laps… our hunch proved to be spot on and he was quickly arrested.

“None of the victims were in at the time of the offences and no-one was hurt. However, the psychological impact of knowing an intruder has been in your home, rummaging through your possessions, can be significant and can’t be underestimated.

“I’m pleased the court has recognised the distress caused to the victims and handed Reid a lengthy jail sentence. Residents can undoubtedly feel safer knowing he is behind bars.”

Reid pleaded guilty to the burglaries in Birmingham’s Hall Street and Carver Street, plus the offence in Southam, and asked for three more to be taken into consideration by the judge.

They were in Great Hampton Street, Townsend Way and Lombard Street in Birmingham.