A mother involved in a family-run scheme to ship stolen heavy machinery to Dubai, has been freed from jail after top judges agreed to show "mercy" for the sake of her children.

Najia Sayed and her partner, Sayed Mahjub, both of Lower High Street, Watford, each played a role in the plot which also involved three members of her family.

The 30-year-old was jailed for two-and-a-half years, alongside her partner, who received a four-year term, at Southwark Crown Court in September last year, after both admitted conspiracy to disguise or transfer criminal property.

But the mother-of-two was today freed by judges, who said the court was able to show compassion so that the couple's children were not deprived of both parents.

The court heard the plot was "organised, sophisticated and lucrative" and involved the shipping of heavy plant - including Caterpillar and JCB machinery - which had been stolen from building sites in the UK, to Dubai.

Six containers were discovered, ready for shipment abroad, and the machinery inside was worth around £450,000.

Investigations revealed about £700,000 had gone through the conspirators' accounts.

The court heard Najia's brothers, Krezhal and Behroz Sayed, were the at the top of the organisation, while Mahjub was just below them and oversaw the day-to-day dealings.

Najia's role was to transfer cash made from the illicit operation and she allowed money to be put into her own account, but she played no other part in the business.

Krezhal and Behroz were jailed after admitting the same charge, while a third member of the family, Ali Sayed, was also put behind bars after being found guilty.