A CAREER criminal who was wanted for a string of violent offences has been jailed after a high-speed chase through Quinton.

Thomas Cahill was wanted for several offences across the West Midlands ranging from burglary, distraction burglary and robbery as well as aggravated vehicle taking.

During his spree, a 78-year-old woman suffered a broken hip after being dragged to the ground as he snatched her bag in a Harborne street.

He also broke into the home of another 78-year-old woman, cutting her phone line so she couldn’t call for help, where he stole bank cards and cash.

A woman in Edgbaston was stabbed multiple times to her hand as he tried to cut the strap of her handbag as she was walking down the street.

And in a further callous move, he tricked his way into the house of a vulnerable man who had previously suffered from a stroke by asking for a glass of water.

He stole his bank cards and later made purchases in a local supermarket.

Luckily, the son of the homeowner spotted Cahill leaving the house and recognised him as having previously taken on roofing work at the house so was able to identify him as being responsible for the burglary.

West Midlands Police launched a force-wide manhunt to trace the violent 42-year-old and only a day later he stole a Fiat 500 from a property in Wolverhampton.

Traffic officers on patrol quickly picked up the in-car tracker and its movements were monitored from above by the police helicopter.

The stolen car was driven dangerously, speeding through residential areas and at times on the wrong side of dual carriageways, before its tyres were stung in Hagley Road.

It eventually ground to a halt in Simmons Drive, Birmingham, at around 6.45pm having shed a tyre and the 42-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving following a brief foot chase.

At Birmingham Crown Court on 28 September, Cahill, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to five burglaries, three robberies an attempted robbery and aggravated vehicle taking. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Detective Mark Timmins from FCID said: “Thomas Cahill is a really violent offender, and we are so pleased to see him behind bars for this time.

“He preyed on the vulnerable and took advantage of them.

“Cahill drove a battered Ford Focus to commit most of these offences, so we were quickly able to identify him as being involved in these malicious crimes.

“Being of a victim of burglary and robbery can be really difficult and the thought of someone being in your home can take a long time to recover from, so I hope this sentence will also provide comfort to Cahill’s victims.”