A GANG of jewellery thieves have been jailed for more than 20 years.

Martin Ward, 32, Martin McDonagh, 39, and William O’Donaghue, 41, have all been found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

The gang, from Essex, Kent and London, travelled the country and targeted families living in the Kingston Park, Fenham and Heaton areas of Newcastle.

They specifically targeted Asian families, breaking into their homes and stealing jewellery and gold worth more than £250,000.

Between January and July last year the trio raided 11 homes and left numerous families out of pocket and robbed of items that held huge sentimental value.

Ward, of Corringham, Essex, was jailed for seven years while McDonagh, of Staplehurst, Kent, was jailed for eight years.

O’Donaghue, of Staffordshire Street, London, was jailed for eight years and six months which included an offence committed in London.

Speaking after the hearing, Superintendent David Felton, from Northumbria Police, said: “These were sophisticated criminals who travelled the country to commit their offences in a bid to avoid capture.

“They thought that by travelling to the North East they would avoid capture but little did they know that we have some of the most talented detectives in the world.”