A sledgehammer-wielding burglar has been jailed for 32 months for break-ins at three Tesco Express stores.

Aaron Paul Morgan, 29, of Sydney Avenue, Hamble-Le-Rice, was sentenced at Southampton Crown Court yesterday (October 8).

He pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and one of attempted burglary after he targeted three Tesco Express stores.

The stores were targeted overnight in Andover, Cosham, and Brockenhurst on August 17 and October 1 last year.

A court heard how Morgan acted as part of a group and targeted these stores in the hours of darkness.

He used a sledgehammer, that he bought from B&Q Hedge End just hours before, to smash through security systems in attempts to steal cash.

CCTV footage showed Morgan and three other unknown men gaining entry to the Tesco Express in Charlton, Andover.

It is believed Morgan made off with around £1000 and caused considerable damage to the store in the process.

Officers established that a Ford Fiesta had been used in the burglary and on August 18, spotted the vehicle in Hamble.

They signalled for it to pull over but the vehicle failed to stop and after a short pursuit, the occupants ran off, leaving the car.

It was discovered the vehicle had a tracker which showed where the car had been, specifically between Morgan’s home address, B&Q and the Tesco Express.

Once arrested for the burglary, Morgan admitted to police that he was also responsible for an attempted burglary at the Tesco Express in Farlington, Portsmouth.

The CCTV from the store showed three men trying to gain entry but without success.

Morgan also admitted to being involved in a burglary at Tesco Express in Brockenhurst.

Detective Constable Paul Beasley from the Operation Hawk Team based at Southampton Central said: "Morgan did all he could to avoid us. He used hire cars or vans which he purchased and then did not register with the DVLA, and used cloned number plates to disguise.

"He then used tools he purchased especially for these offences and as well as gloves and face coverings to prevent him from being identified by CCTV."