A burglar who ransacked a Northfleet home intending to steal more than £20,000 worth of gold jewellery has been jailed for 20 months.
Patrick McCarthy, 22, was chased down and arrested by Kent Police neighbourhood officers after he was disturbed while in the property in Waterdales on 31 January.
The victims left their home locked and secure at around midday but at 2.15pm, a neighbour noticed two men loitering near their garden fence before approaching the back door, which one of them forced open.
Both men, followed by McCarthy, of Fairbridge Way, Burgess Hill, disappeared into the house and the neighbour called the police.
Officers arrived just as McCarthy ran out of the house and chased him through Mitchell Gardens into the grounds of Northfleet Technology College.
During the chase, McCarthy jumped onto the roof of a shed and was seen to drop a bag that was later discovered to contain more than £4,000 worth of gold jewellery.
The police helicopter was deployed to search for the burglar and located him hiding his shoes in some shrubbery.
McCarthy was arrested in a field and charged with burglary.
When officers searched the house he and his co-offenders, who were not located, had targeted, they found the entire place had been torn apart, with beds upturned, drawers and cupboards emptied and property strewn everywhere.
A pillowcase containing £20,000 worth of gold jewellery had been dumped near the living room, dropped by the burglar when police arrived.
A quantity of cash and the victims’ passports were also taken.
McCarthy was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court on 31 March.
Enquiries are ongoing to locate the other two men in the house.
Investigating officer, DC Rob Hemsley of Kent Police, said: ‘This burglary came around the same time as a number of others targeting homes where a large quantity of Asian gold jewellery is kept.
‘This jewellery is highly valuable and has a lot of sentimental and cultural significance.
"For McCarthy to almost destroy the inside of these innocent victims’ home so he could track it down and steal it was disgraceful.
"He tried to outrun our officers when he was caught and discarded his clothing and some of what he had managed to steal in an attempt to rid himself of evidence. Unfortunately for him, that did not work.
‘I want to extend our thanks to the witness, who stayed on the phone until we arrived to keep us up to date on what she saw and even filmed on her iPad.
‘Burglary is a horrendous crime that leaves people feeling violated, afraid and unsafe in their own homes.
"We are doing constant work around burglary and have detectives dedicated to targeting offenders and bringing them to justice.
"I hope McCarthy takes his time behind bars seriously and reflects on the misery and fear his actions have caused."