A BURGLARY gang who left a Knowle schoolgirl cowering under a desk as they kicked open the front door have been jailed.
Daniel Toms and Adil Iqbal led a four-strong group that forced their way into properties across Solihull and Birmingham and made off with jewellery, electrical and other valuables.
At an address in Knowle left a home-alone schoolgirl cowering under a desk in fear they tried kicking open the front door while her parents were walking the family dog and in Moseley they swiped items worth £10,000.
Toms (26) and 20-year-old Iqbal attacked three houses in two hours on October 19 last year.
They drove off empty handed from addresses in Chatsworth Drive, Dorridge, and Astor Drive in Moseley before smashing their way inside a house in Baldwins Lane, Hall Green, where they took valuables and two sets of car keys.
Four days later they were joined by 18-year-old Taylor Burns as they targeted three homes in quick succession.
They failed to gain access to properties in Streetbrook Road, Solihull, and Norton Lane in Tidbury Green but then used a screwdriver to force a door lock in St Agnes Road, Moseley, where they made off with a stash of valuables.
However, West Midlands Police discovered their Fiesta getaway car abandoned in Acocks Green later that night and recovered stolen property plus forensic evidence linking them to the burglaries.
Officers searched Iqbal’s home in Douglas Road, Acocks Green, in November and caught him running off through gardens having clambered out of an upstairs bathroom window.
Toms was arrested following a brief police pursuit in Coventry on December 21; traffic cops found him in a brook after he’d run off from the stolen Ford Fiesta he was driving.
Burns had previously been arrested on 7 November from his home where a search revealed a pair of poly-gloves from the pocket of a jacket which matched the same unique product code as a pair found in the getaway Fiesta.
Toms and Iqbal both went on to admit seven burglaries, plus dangerous driving, and at Birmingham Crown Court on May 8 Toms was jailed for five-and-a-half years while Iqbal was detained in a youth offenders institute for three years two months.
Burns, from Richmond Road in Stechford, admitted three burglaries and sent to a youth offenders institute for 20 months.
A fourth man − Caleb Ilsley from Denham Road, Acocks Green − admitted joining Iqbal during the attempted Knowle break-in.
He also admitted a burglary in Faulkner Road, Solihull, where designer watches and an antique sword were stolen.
Detectives found his blood at the scene after he’d smashed a window to gain entry; he was sent to a youth offenders institute for two years.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Alan Reeves from West Midlands Police Force CID, said: “Toms has a long criminal history for burglary; we suspected he was involved and placed him as wanted on national police systems.
“There tactic was simply to knock on doors and, if they didn’t get a response, try to force the door open or simply just kick it open. They put one schoolgirl through an awful ordeal: she heard them trying to hammer their way inside and took cover under a desk.”
West Midlands Police has released dash-cam footage showing Iqbal driving at speeds in excess of 90mph towards Chelmsley Wood in October.
Officers stung the tyres of the stolen Ford Fiesta − but despite having two punctured tyres he carried on driving at 70mph in a desperate bid to evade capture.
He was finally stopped near the National Motorcycle Museum and arrested for dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.
Toms and Iqbal were also disqualified from driving for 56 and 43 months respectively − bans that start upon their prison release − and they will have to pass extended driving tests in order to recover their licences.