A GANG of "experienced criminals" has been jailed for raids on businesses including a major heist in Clent.

The group of eight men raided nearly 40 premises across the midlands, targeting mainly golf clubs and garden centres.

Their spree, between June 2011 and July 2012, included a break-in at Barnett Hill Garden Centre, Worcester Road, when they made off with £28,000.

Terry Hodgkins, 36, of Whittall Drive East, Kidderminster, Andrew Sadler, 26, of Dunlin Drive, Kidderminster, Michael Cope, 25, of Woodbury Road, Kidderminster, Neil Davis, 42, of, Bewdley Road, Stourport, Mark Wilson, also 42, from Birchfield Road, Kidderminster, Timothy Smith, 21, from Truro Drive, Kidderminster, Jamie Worrall, 26 of Masons Close, Halesowen and Jordan Taylor, 22, of Beecher Road, Halesowen, all admitted conspiracy to burgle at various locations nationally.

Detective Constable Phillipa Metcalfe of West Mercia Police said: "The operation was masterminded by Hodgkins and involved a group of experienced criminals.

"While it was a sophisticated operation, the defendants became greedy and Jordan Taylor overconfident, which ultimately led to their downfall."

Taylor also admitted stealing two reels of telecommunications cable from Sherborne Homes Ltd at Kingswinford in August 2012.

At Hereford Crown Court, Hodgkins, Sadler and Worrall were each given six-year terms, Smith was given three and-a-half years and Wilson received three years.

Davis was jailed for two years while Taylor was handed a 30-month term and Cope was given 18 months.

The court heard the gang methods involved cutting phone lines to disable the connection to the alarm company.

This triggered alarms but when a keyholder or security guard arrived it appeared everything was in order, and they would reset the alarm and leave, unaware the offenders were hiding nearby.

The gang would then break in, and although the alarms sounded, the alarm company was either not aware or simply thought there was a fault.

The gang, who wore balaclavas and gloves, damaged CCTV cameras or pointed them in the other direction while they carried out the burglaries, usually by targeting safes on the premises.