TWO serial offenders used an axe to smash their way into a service station kiosk to snatch a haul of cigarettes, but their getaway was thwarted after a five-mile police chase that ended in Southampton.

The city crown court heard how Corbin Ward and Mark Hope targeted the garage in Tilshead, Wiltshire, where they grabbed about £3,000 worth of cigarettes before fleeing.

However, police later pursued their car with Hope at the wheel, during which he drove at excessive speed and went on the wrong side of the road as well as a roundabout.

Prosecutor Audrey Archer said the drama ended when a police unit managed to get in front of their car in Mousehole Lane, Midanbury.

Ward, 23, and Hope, 27, both of no fixed abode, admitted burglary and Hope also admitted dangerous driving. The former was said to have 26 previous convictions dating back to 2001 and Ward’s 27 previous convictions began in 2003.

The pair and Jade McFarlane, 26, also of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to receiving scratch cards stolen in a raid on the Co-op in Denmead. Hope had only been out of jail for eight days at the time.

Ward was jailed for three years. Hope received a three-year, four month sentence and was also disqualified for two years with an order to take a retest on its completion.

McFarlane received a six-month sentence, coupled with 12 months supervision, with £180 costs.