TWO career criminals who caused over £5,000 worth of damage while breaking into nine businesses in one evening have been jailed.

Lorenzo Hodgson and William Penman were caught red-handed raiding Lomeshaye Industrial Estate in Nelson after they triggered an alarm inside one of the units.

It was heard how the estate is made up of over 30 businesses and that Penman and Hodgson ‘wouldn’t have stopped’ their spree at nine units had it not been for the fact they were foiled.

The pair, who had already broken into and ransacked a photographer’s studio, a beauty salon and a mobility shop, were finally stopped after they triggered an alarm inside the Lomeshaye Village Nursery, causing the owner to become alerted to their presence.

The police were called and the men were eventually caught by the dog handling team and police dog Zorro.

They were jailed at Burnley Crown Court on Monday for a combined term of six-and-a-half-years.

Prosecuting, Steven Parker said: “At around 9.30pm, the defendants first broke into the industrial estate. A total of nine premises were ransacked after the men kicked the doors in to gain access.

“But when the group of men entered the Lomeshaye Village Nursery, an alarm was triggered that alerted the business owner to their presence. They were unaware that they had activated the alarm and continued their spree.”

He added: “They broke two CCTV cameras in a bid to conceal their identities, but there were still other cameras operating.”

A third man was also involved, but escaped from police and has never been identified.

Mr Parker added that a rucksack containing two home-made balaclavas and the contents of their haul, including mobile phones, tablets and pocket change, was found at the scene. A knife was also discovered.

The court also heard how Penman committed his crime before he found out that his partner is expecting their first child.

Surmising, Judge Andrew Jefferies QC said: “You broke into and burgled nine commercial businesses, including a beauty salon, photography studio, nursery and mobility shop. The only reason you stopped at nine was because you were caught out."

The pair pleaded guilty to nine counts of burglary. Hodgson, of Derby Street, Nelson, was sentenced to 32 months in prison. Penman, of Newmarket Street, Colne, was sentenced to 47 months owing to his criminal history.