A 13-year-old boy has escaped jail after a series of distraction burglaries where residents were tricked into leaving their doors open.

Homeless Michael Doran, 39,  would sneak into the house and steal money, jewellery and bank cards while the 13-year-old Croydon boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was distracting them.

Geraldine Ward, 36, from Bromley, drove the trio around. They would then pawn the jewellery and try to withdraw cash with the stolen bankcards.

A home in Barton Green, New Malden was targeted on June 5 and another in Lower Ham Road, Kingston on July 4, last year.

Police linked the burglars to 48 crimes across London, Surrey and Kent between June and September last year.

They pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary in dozens of break-ins.

Doran was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison at Woolwich Crown Court today while Ward was sentenced to three years at the same court on April 15.

The teenager was given a 12 month rehabilitation order and a 12 month supervision order today after pleading guilty at a previous court appearance.

Detective Constable Kerry Townley, one of the investigating officers from Lewisham, said: “The sentence handed down today is a good result and whilst it reflects the seriousness of the offences committed we very much hope that the 13-year-old boy is rehabilitated and does not come to our notice again.

“We hope that he does change his life for the better.”