Two convicted criminals had an extra two and a half years added to their sentences for a series of burglaries in Watford.

James Connors, 44, and Daniel White, 21, targeted the homes of Asian people in Hempstead Road area of the town, believing they kept large amounts of gold jewellery.

At one address White got away with £20,000 worth of jewellery, St Albans Crown Court was told yesterday.

The pair also stole Audi cars from homes, taking fake number plates with them to help them get away from the scene. The total amount they got away with was £44,000, which the prosecution are seeking to confiscate.

Connors of Wellington Road, Harrow, and White, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to conspiring to burgle homes between May 1 and September 6 last year.

As part of the Hertfordshire police investigation, called Operation Manhunt, a specialist unit was set up to investigate distraction burglaries against elderly people.

Both men had been sentenced to four years in prison at Aylesbury Crown Court for a series of burglaries at elderly peoples' home in Hampshire Court, Bletchley, last August. When the police arrived at the scene they escaped in a car that sped off through Bucks, Beds and Herts, reaching speeds of 160 miles per hour.

Eight offences were committed in Watford, six in Milton Keynes and two in Dunmow, Essex.

Judge Andrew Bright QC increased the pair's sentences saying: "After the sentencing at Aylesbury the full extent of your criminal behaviour became clear. These were professional and sophisticated crimes committed in three counties over several months last year."