Burglars John Maughan and John Donaghue were jailed for three years and 10 months each on Friday, after a spate of crimes in Hertfordshire and across southern England.

Maughan and Donaghue conned staff at community and sports clubs getting away with more than £23,000.

Among the clubs targeted were Mill End Sports and Social Club in Rickmansworth where £1,200 was stolen from petty cash, the Maple Cross Club in Rickmansworth and Tabard Rugby Club in Radlett.

Prosecutor Alex Krikler, told St Albans Crown Court that Maughan, 51, would distract the victims while Donaghue, 35, would sneak into the building, locate the cash and steal it from tills or the safe.

Maughan was stopped for an unrelated traffic offence on September 22 last year - three days after he had been at the rugby club. He was identified from CCTV from many of the locations.

Donaghue handed himself into Guildford police station after a police appeal. Both men were identified from CCTV at many of the premises, said Mr Krikler.

Maughan of High Road, Luton, and Donaghue of Larch Avenue, Guildford, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle between May 30, 2011, and September 20, 2012.

Jailing them Judge John Plumstead said both men had many previous convictions. In the past Donaghue had used 35 aliases and Maughan had 15 aliases.