A gang of burglars from Eltham and Charlton have been given jail sentences after they broke into a gated community in Kent with police uniforms and a flashing blue light on their car.

The trio used their guise to break into an apartment before stealing money, handbags and designer trainers before the real police caught up with them.

Daniel Bowen, Daniel Kelly and Louis Ahearne, all from south east London, were sentenced on Tuesday to prison terms raging from two-and-a-half years to five years, Kent Police said today.

The incident took place in Ide Hill, near Westerham in Kent, late on July 9 2019.

Once inside the grounds, they broke into an apartment by smashing a window before stealing money, handbags and designer trainers.

They then attempted to force their way into another property but fled after being disturbed by neighbours.

However, the real police caught up with them after forensics teams detected bloodstains on a money box which provided a DNA match to Bowen, and he was arrested on August 22.

Officers recognised Ahearne and Kelly as the other two culprits after viewing CCTV, and days later they were also arrested.

Bowen, 44, of Wolfe Crescent, and Kelly, 41, of The Heights, both in Charlton, south-east London, and Ahearne, 31, of Stanley Close, Eltham, south-east London, were all charged with burglary and attempted burglary.

Bowen pleaded guilty, while Kelly and Ahearne were convicted following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

On Tuesday, Kelly and Ahearne were each sentenced to five years in jail.

Ahearne's term included a sentence for a separate and unrelated offence for possession of a stun gun.

Bowen was given two years and six months.

Detective Constable Alex Peacock, of the Chief Constable's Crime Squad, said: "When we searched Kelly's home, several items of police uniform were found and it is clear these men were prepared to go to considerable lengths to plan and carry out these offences.

"The sentences reflect the seriousness of their offending.

"We know all too well just how devastating burglaries can be, for anyone whose home is broken into, and I hope that today's verdicts will provide the victims with a level of reassurance."