A PROLIFIC burglar who travelled by train from Lancashire to target homes in Shropshire and Herefordshire, including two houses in the same street in Craven Arms, has been jailed for four years and eight months.

Gary Paul Mayall, aged 36, from Oldham, admitted three burglary offences and asked for a further nine to be taken into consideration when he appeared at Shrewsbury Crown Court.

He admitted burglary of a home in Ludlow Road, Church Stretton on November 28 last year, attempted burglary at a neighbouring home in Ludlow Road the same day and burglary of a home in Newlands Drive, Leominster on November 23.

Mayall asked for nine similar burglary offences committed in Shrewsbury and Leominster during last October and November to be taken into account.

He was arrested in Church Stretton having travelled to the town by train from his home area on November 28.

Detective Inspector Peter Brophy, head of the Proactive Burglary Team in Shropshire, welcomed the prison sentence.

"Mayall was a travelling criminal who came to Shropshire and Herefordshire to break into people's homes,” he said.

"He is a prolific burglar with a long list of crimes to his name. But thanks to the support of members of the public in Church Stretton and an excellent response from local police officers, he was quickly arrested despite trying to make good his escape.

"Several local people called the police when they spotted Mayall acting suspiciously near homes.

“They thought he might be up to no good and did exactly the right thing by calling us immediately. Our officers were then able to respond quickly and more or less caught him in the act."

Det Insp Brophy praised people in Church Stretton for their support and urged others to follow their example if they spotted strangers acting suspiciously.