Shane Smith, 36, began his spree in Haymans Way, Papworth, on June 22, by forcing his way into a home using a screwdriver to steal cash, jewellery and a hat.

A short while later he smashed a rear window of another home in the same road but as he was climbing in, the occupant confronted him and he fled.

Later that afternoon Smith was in London Road, St Ives, where he jimmied open a conservatory window, stealing a set of gold cufflinks from inside before he was again disturbed by his victims.

After being identified as responsible for the three burglaries through CCTV, Smith was spotted driving a blue Vauxhall Zafira on false plates in Hilton on June 29.

Police deployed a stinger taking out two of his tyres, but instead of stopping he reversed into a member of the public’s car and sped off along Potton Road, closely followed by officers.

The pursuit continued through Hemingford Abbots along Rideaway, with Smith taking corners on the wrong side of the road and driving at speeds of more than 50mph in a 30mph zone before slamming on his brakes.

He tried to escape on foot but was detained nearby and caught in possession of a knife. Suspected stolen property was also found in the car.

Smith, of no fixed abode, appeared at Cambridge Crown Court on September 15 after admitting two counts of burglary, attempted burglary, dangerous driving, possessing a bladed article in a public place, two counts of handling stolen goods and fraudulently making use of a registration mark.

DC Neil Gibbs, who investigated, said: “Smith is a prolific burglar who, in his haste to get away, put the lives of innocent people and officers at risk.

“In the space of just a day he caused a significant amount of damage and misery and I’m glad his sentence will see him behind bars for some time.

“Tackling burglary remains a priority for the force and we will continue to do all we can to put offenders before the courts.”

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