A PAIR who raided a dozen businesses across Hampshire and Dorset have been jailed after being tracked down after DNA was found at a Basingstoke store.

Ricky Severn and Darryl Clarke raided 12 commercial properties in just over a month earlier this year - including one haul of £60,000 from a Southampton clothing shop.

The duo also targeted stores in Eastleigh, Netley Abbey and Basingstoke, as well as two in Wimborne, Dorset.

In total, it is estimated that Severn and Clarke stole near to £100,000 worth of goods, mainly cigarettes but also, on one occasion, £65,000 worth of clothing.

Where did they target?

• On March 15, Central Convenience Stores in Bayard Place, Wimborne, Dorset was broken into just before 3am. Entry was gained by using crowbars forcing the front door. Large amount of cigarettes stolen. (Dorset Police investigation)

• On March 15, McColls Newsagent in Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh was broken into between 4am and 4.25am. Entry was gained via the rear door. Large amount of cigarettes were stolen.

• On March 15, the alarm at the Locus store in Wimbourne Road West, Wimborne was de-activated. No entry was gained. CCTV showed offenders trying to enter. (Dorset Police investigation)

• On March 13, McColls Newsagent at the Lordshill Centre was broken into just after 4am and a large amount of cigarettes were stolen.

• On March 13, the glass front of the Co-op store in Archers Road, Southampton was reported as smashed at 3.26am. Officers deployed and found significant damage had been caused but entry had not been gained.

• On March 13, The Co-op in Victoria Road in Netley Abbey was broken into at 3pm. Windows were smashed. Cigarettes stolen.

• On March 13, the Co-op in West End High Street was broken into between 1.40am and 1.50am. Entry was gained with crowbars forcing the rear fire door. Large amount of cigarettes, till float and charity box stolen.

• On March 2, The John Anthony store in Above Bar Street, Southampton was broken into just before 11pm. The rear security door was forced open. Clothing was taken from the stock room and the store front. Estimated £65,000 worth.

• On February 28, The Co-op in Hursley Road, Chandlers Ford was broken into between 3.15am and 3.25am. The rear doors were forced open with a crow bar. Cigarettes stolen. Crime reference number 44180077712

• On February 28, Central Stores in Spring Lane, Eastleigh was targeted just before 2am. Entry gained by forcing front door. Entry was gained and more than £5,000 worth of tobacco was stolen.

• On February 19 between 2am and 3am, three men were seen by a man who lived nearby to be trying to break into the Sainsbury’s petrol station shop in Wallop Drive, Hatch Warren. The man went over to intervene, but the men turned on him, stole his mobile phone and assaulted him with crow bar. The shop was not broken into.

• On February 19 at 3.40am, three men were reported to have raided an Asda petrol station kiosk in Maynard Road, Totton. Armed with crow bars again, they threatened staff and stole cigarettes.

How did they do it?

The burglaries were planned and followed a specific method.

Most of the crimes occurred in the early hours of the morning. Thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes were stolen and then likely sold on illegally.

The suspects wore masks and scarves to cover their faces, used crow bars to gain entry to shops, and the cigarettes were stuffed into large industrial rubble bags.

Those bags were then thrown in the back of stolen cars on cloned plates which were used as getaway cars at an attempt to make those responsible untraceable.

In total, five vehicles used in the crimes were found, recovered and seized by police.

How did the police catch them?

Officers cracked the case when Clarke’s DNA was found at the scene of the burglary at a Sainsbury’s store in Hatch Warren. Soon after the discovery, Clarke was charged and remanded.

When Clarke, 29, of Summit Way, Southampton, was arrested, his phone was seized and forensically examined and with that the phone data revealed the conspiracy.

Within his phone detectives were able to identify a contact for Ricky Severn, disguised under a pseudonym.

By identifying Severn, 32, of Alder Road, Southampton, officers were able to evidence key conversations between the pair before, during and after all the burglaries.

Soon after, detectives arrested Severn getting off a plane after he arrived at Luton Airport following a holiday in Malta.

He was charged for the part he played in executing the burglaries and has been in custody since May.

Today, the investigation comes to its conclusion with the pair receiving a combined nine years imprisonment.

Detective Constable Chris Orr from the Western Investigation Team based at Southampton Central Police Station said: “Severn and Clarke were part of a very organised network of criminals who make their living from crime.

“I am hopeful that Severn and Clarke’s jail terms will show those within their communities who look up to them, that should they commit crime like this, they will also be caught and brought to justice.”