A Romanian burglar who cycled around Watford stealing thousands of pounds worth of property has been jailed.

Ion Tanase, 49, of no fixed address, was linked to a total of 31 offences in the town.

On September 4, Tanase broke into a house in Cassiobury Drive. He stole a set of keys and more than £100 in cash but fled after someone returned home.

On February 11 this year, he smashed a ground floor window of a property in Foxlands Close before stealing jewellery. Then on March 20, Tanase again smashed a ground floor window of a property in The Ridgeway before searching upstairs and taking a number of items of jewellery.

On April 12, he returned to Cassiobury Drive and used a wheelie bin to climb into a ground-floor window which had been left open. He stole a large amount of jewellery and £600 worth of Indian rupees, which he later converted.

Tanase then took a trip to Europe but was arrested by Border Force on his return to the UK in early May, before being charged and remanded.

CCTV cameras captured Tanase arriving and leaving the homes he had burgled. Tests then showed his DNA had been lifted from several crime scenes.

During sentencing, a further 27 burglaries in Watford were taken into consideration (where a defendant admits responsibility but is not charged), meaning a total of 31 offences were detected overall.

Tanase pleaded guilty to four counts of dwelling burglary and one count of possession of criminal property.

At St Albans Crown Court on May 31, Tanase was jailed for four years.

Detective Inspector Jason Finnegan, from the Watford local crime unit, said: “My team and I are extremely pleased with Tanase’s custodial sentence. Since he was charged and remanded, we have seen the number of reported dwelling burglaries plummet.

“Burglary is a serious violation of privacy and can have long-lasting, far-reaching effects. Tanase’s utterly despicable behaviour left some of his victims feeling unsettled and unsafe in their own homes.

“I hope he uses his prison term to seriously reflect on his actions and think about the impact he has had on the innocent people he stole from.”

The Home Secretary will decide whether Tanase is to be deported to his native Romania once he has served his sentence.