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Henry Philips, 34, of Camp Way, Maidstone, and Stephen Oliver, 40, of Thanet Way, Whitstable, pleaded guilty to raiding Anthony Short Antiques in January this year.

The Kent News reported how members of the public called the police after seeing a van smash through the doors before three masked men entered the premises.

The three thieves then drove off in the stolen Suzuki van before abandoning it on the outskirts of Petworth with the £30,000 worth of antiques still inside.

Officers quickly located the vehicle before identifying a second getaway car leaving Sussex and heading into Surrey.
A high speed pursuit followed as officers from Surrey Police attempted to stop the vehicle as it drove along the M25 at speeds of 145mph heading back towards Kent.

The second getaway car, a high performance Volvo, was finally caught by police after it crashed near Chertsey in Surrey and all three men were arrested.

Both Phillips and Oliver were sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for burglary and aggravated vehicle taking following the trial at Chichester Crown Court on Friday, August 27.

A third man, Clinton Letchford, 27 from Sittingbourne, was also due to be sentenced, but failed to appear. He subsequently appeared on Monday, September 13 and was sentenced to four years imprisonment for the same offences.

CCTV in Petworth played a vital part in the investigation, a senior police officer said after sentencing.