A PAIR of career criminals who set out on a night time of burglary and theft have each been jailed for three years and two months.

Christopher Stock and Brian Barton came to Royal Wootton Bassett from their homes in Bristol to line their pockets with other people's possessions.

But the 36-year-olds were caught when a resident looked out of the window after hearing a car alarm go off in the middle of the night and saw them at work.

Charles Gabb, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how the pair had driven up in the dead of night last summer in a stolen van with cloned number plates.

Before they set off on Thursday, June 30, he said they had texted each other saying how they 'enjoyed working together', having been out in Devon the night before.

He said Barton was an expert in house breaking and Stock at getting into cars making them a 'likely pair'.

Armed with crowbars and gloves, they arrived in town in the early hours and set about breaking into cars and garages on a housing estate.

He said they first targeted a garage in Otter Way where they also stole the number plates from a car, presumably to replace the ones already on the stolen van.

The men also raided a neighbouring garage making off with £1,100 worth remote control cars and a children's scooter.

They moved on to Elm Park where they broke into two cars, one containing more than £1,000 worth of computers and the other having its alarm wires cut, and one garage.

In Garraways they made off with about £895 worth of sports equipment and a sat nav from a car but a car alarm woke a neighbour, who looked out and called the police.

Mr Gabb said when officers arrived they saw the pair with a third man, who has never been caught, carrying boxes of stolen items.

The three ran off but the two defendants were caught and officers recovered what they had dropped as they tried to escape.

Stock and Barton, each admitted conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal.

The court heard Stock had 68 previous convictions, including numerous for car crime, dating back to when he was a teenager.

Barton has 77 previous convictions, is a three strike burglar three times over, and is serving a three year term for other offences committed while on bail.

Simon Cooper, for Stock, said his client has a partner and son and had been trying to go straight but got back on to drugs and returned to crime.

Nicholas Wragg, for Barton, pointed out that though the burglaries were of dwellings they only targeted the garages and not the living quarters.

He said he too had a drug problem and has only one functioning eye, but was hoping to have an operation on the other one while in prison.

Jailing them Judge Robert Pawson said: "It is clear that the two had been out together thieving on the nights, or at least one night, prior to their arrest.

"They had spoken of, and I quote: 'Enjoying working together'.

"These were, as a consequence, I have no doubt whatsoever well planned group offences."