SAINTS star Danny Ings’ Hampshire home was ransacked by armed burglars while he was playing a Premier League game at St Mary’s, the Echo can reveal.

Three raiders, brandishing knives and a barbecue skewer, broke in and stole electronic goods.

They also stole a van from the driveway of the four bedroom property in the Botley area.

Now one of the men, Jack Cove, has been jailed after admitting his part in the aggravated burglary.

The 21-year-old was sentenced to nine years in prison after also pleading guilty to holding a knife to a man’s throat during another aggravated burglary.

Southampton Crown Court heard how Cove and two other unknown males broke into the striker’s home on May 22 last year while he played in Saints 1-1 draw with Huddersfield at St Mary’s.

Daily Echo:

The court heard the footballer had left the house unoccupied while he played in Saints’ Premier League clash with Huddersfield, which ended 1-1 thanks to a Nathan Redmond goal.

When the player, who signed for Saints from Liverpool in 2018 for a reported £18 million, and a friend, returned to the property around 7pm, they found it had been ransacked.

This season the 27-year-old Winchester-born player has scored 19 times for Saints in a run of form that has sparked calls for him to be included in Gareth Southgate’s next England squad.

Prosecutor Victoria Hill said CCTV showed three men enter the home of the former Bournemouth and Burnley star – two armed with knives and the other a barbecue skewer.

She said: “The group stole goods valued at around £1,300 and a Ford Luton van was also stolen.”

Ms Hill also said in another incident Cove and another kicked their way into a home in Adelaide Road, St Denys, on March 21.

The court heard Cove then held a knife to the homeowner’s throat, making contact with the neck, while his accomplice stole £200.

Ms Hill said Cove and two others were involved in another aggravated burglary at a property in Tatwin Close, Thornhill, on September 17.

The court heard the owners were on holiday when the gang broke into the property and stole items, including jewellery and watches.

A neighbour called the police and officers arrested Cove and another in the property, in which a hunting knife was also found.

Cove pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated burglary.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of bank card fraud, one count of criminal damage, one count of dangerous driving, relating to a crash on his motorbike, as well as one count of driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and two counts of taking a vehicle without consent.

Daily Echo:

In mitigation, Keely Harvey said Cove had an unresolved childhood issue, which was not discussed in court, and had struggled with drug use.

She said Cove’s offending had escalated, having previously had four convictions, after he had fallen into a bad crowd.

Ms Harvey said Cove, of no fixed address, had shown remorse for his behaviour and that he would be supported by his family on release.

In sentencing, Judge Nicholas Rowland said his sentence would focus on the most serious crime, the aggravated burglary in Adelaide Road, while reflecting the other offences.

He said: “You kicked your way into the victim’s house and you were the one who held a knife to his throat, though no injury was caused.

“This was an extremely grave offence.”

He added: “I have heard how you had a disturbed background which explains to some extent why you behaved in this way, which is out of character given your previous offences.”

Judge Rowland sentenced Cove to nine years in prison and banned him from driving for eight years, which includes the period he will spend in custody.

Cove will have to take an extended retest before he can drive again.