A GANG may have stolen a car before embarking on a spree of house burglaries across Hampshire.

Hampshire police has launched an investigation after four homes were targeted in Southampton and the New Forest on the same day.

Homeowners were left distressed after properties were damaged and sentimental items were stolen.

Three men were seen knocking on doors, checking the rear of properties, and peering through windows in Guernsey Close, Southampton, at 1.30pm on February 6.

A home in Cowley Close, Southampton, was then broken into between 2.05pm and 3.55pm.

Jewellery, cash, a selection of wrapped birthday presents, and a 2004 silver Nissan Micra were taken.

The Micra was later recovered in Brunel Road, Southampton, at around 10.15pm.

Raiders gained entry through the kitchen window of a house in Studland Road, Southampton, between 2pm and 6pm, before fleeing with a purse, a bus pass and jewellery.

Between 10am and 5.50pm a home in Rhinefield Close, Brockenhurst, was broken into.

The lights were left on in the property and small silver items were taken.

Two men were seen running from a woman's home in Morgans Vale, Bramshaw, at around 4.30pm.

The men got into a silver car that was being driven by a third man and left at speed.

The woman discovered her rear kitchen window had been smashed but no one had gained entry into the property.

Hampshire police says the full extent of what has been stolen is not known, but the victims have been left with damage to their homes.

It comes after a spate of burglaries in the Chandler's Ford area, as reported by the Daily Echo.

Homes in Corinthians Road, Nichols Road, and Sarum Road, were all broken into on February 12, and police are investigating if the incidents are linked.

Anyone with any information about any of the incidents or who may have seen the stolen Nissan Micra on the afternoon of Thursday, February 6, is asked to contact Police Staff Investigator Katherine Harding at Shirley police station on 101 or via the website.hampshire.police.uk/internet/contact/message_officer.htm You can also call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.