A ROWLEY Regis robber has been jailed for eight years for his part in a Romanian crime gang's crime spree which netted more than £3.1 million in jewels and property.

Vasile Daniel Cardos, aged 26, of Halesowen Street, was one of six men have jailed for 47 years for conspiring to commit burglaries at jewellers spanning nine counties.

The men were sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court for the offences which were committed between November 2015 and September 2016.

Jewellery, including watches, rings, necklaces and other items were stolen from branches of Beaverbrooks, Fraser Hart, Goldsmiths and independent jewellers in a series of 11 raids described as ‘meticulously planned’ by the detective running the investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Ricky Fields, of Staffordshire Police’s Force Safeguarding and Investigation (North), described how the gang set fire to cars and car tyres, as well as property to distract and hinder emergency services.

DCI Fields said: “We’re dealing with a group of individuals who are extremely organised and forensically aware,” he said.

“They went to great lengths and employed an interesting MO in an attempt to avoid detection”

DCI Fields said the group could be linked to the crime academy in Romania as several of the members came from the same region of the country and employed similar strategies.

The Romanian Crime Academy recruits men and provides a strict code for its members as well as training in numerous techniques, such as avoiding being followed as well as understanding forensic evidence.

He added: “They employed a number of strategies including cycling to the scenes of their crimes and cordoning off sections of road to reduce traffic and observers.

“They also pitched tents, typically two to three miles from the scene of the crime and buried their waste in a bid to avoid DNA being gathered.”

DCI Fields added: "This is a complex investigation which spans other police force areas including Thames Valley, Hampshire, Kent, Cambridgeshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire and Warwickshire and was supported by the National Crime Agency and West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit and Romanian authorities.

“This was a highly organised Romanian crime group who, thanks to great partnership working between all forces, we were able to bring to justice. Police officers across the country have worked tirelessly and diligently to achieve this result today in Court.

“I hope the sentences handed out today send out a strong message - Staffordshire Police, along with other forces, will not tolerate such crime in our communities and we will take positive action against those involved."