A GANG of balaclava-clad brothers burgled a Worcester home while a couple slept inside, stole their car keys and drove off in two expensive cars.

Brothers Shaun Cooper, Oliver Cooper and Lee Cooper together with another accomplice, Benjamin Wilson, were all jailed at Worcester Crown Court on Monday after admitting the 'professional' car key burglary.

The four men, who hoped to make 'easy money' out of the raid, all admitted burglary at the home in Cartwright Avenue, Worcester, on September 28 last year and theft of a BMW and Mercedes, the stolen cars driven off from the house in convoy.

Wilson admitted a further charge of handling a stolen £52,000 Audi which he crashed, leaving his DNA on the airbag which allowed police to trace him.

Lee Cooper, aged 18, of the Youth Custody Centre at Werrington Young Offender Institution, Oliver Cooper, aged 19, of the young offender institution at HMP Featherstone and Shaun Cooper, aged 20 of Sandon Road, Birmingham and Benjamin Wilson, aged 24, of HMP Hewell appeared together in the dock.

Giles Nelson, prosecuting, said members of the gang entered the house through the back, snapping the lock before taking two sets of car keys from a handbag.

The stolen BMW was valued at between £10,000 and £15,000 and the Mercedes at between £15,000 and £18,000.

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Mr Nelson said an address in Dale Road, Selly Oak was already under police observation at the time of the Worcester burglary.

The defendants got into an Audi A1 S Line and travelled down the M5 shortly before midnight on Thursday, September 27.

CCTV showed the car pulling into Cartwright Avenue in Worcester at 12.28pm before men approached the house in 'dark-coloured clothing'. At 12.48am the stolen cars were driven off the drive, both 'travelling in convoy north'.

Police contacted the owner of the two cars at 1.30am after the BMW failed to stop. The car's owners were unaware they had been burgled, discovering the damage to the back door and their cars missing from the drive.

The Audi was involved in a pursuit on September 30 last year, two days after the burglary, and false plates were found in the back.

The Mercedes was recovered on October 3 on cloned plates when Wilson, Oliver and Lee Cooper were arrested at the scene of another burglary. The BMW was never recovered.

Mr Nelson said the circumstances of this arrest were 'not dissimilar to this (the Worcester case) in that they were in balaclavas', an offence for which they were all serving custodial sentences. Shaun Cooper was not involved in that attempted burglary.

A car key burglary took place in Cavendish Close, Marlbrook, Bromsgrove involved the theft of an Audi S Line worth £52,000 at 3.45am on September 9 last year. Again the homeowners were present, considered an aggravating feature of the case.

That evening the Audi was involved in a chase, crashed and the airbag was deployed. Wilson was identified from DNA left on the airbag but declined to be interviewed.

This was the subject of the handling charge against Wilson alone.

"They were shocked and appalled by what had taken place" said Mr Nelson of the victims of the burglaries.

Shaun Cooper only surrendered to the court on the day he was sentenced, a warrant having previously been issued for his arrest.

Joseph Keating, for all four defendants, said: "It was an opportunity for them to make easy money."

Judge Robert Juckes QC said: "This is carefully planned, well thought out targeting of people's houses and people's motorcars."

He said the sentencing exercise was complicated by the fact that three of the four defendants were already serving a jail sentence for a similar attempted burglary. This had not been factored into the original sentence because investigations into the Worcester offences were still pending at that time.

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The judge jailed Wilson for 36 months and the Cooper brothers for 30 months each. For those already in prison these new prison sentences will be concurrent to the ones they are already serving.

They must also all pay a £170 victim surcharge.