A violent offender has been jailed for 14 years.

William Casey and another unidentified man broke into house in Gloucester Road, Brentwood, and threatened a 46-year-old woman who had been asleep at the time.

The burglars, who were armed with a crowbar and a screwdriver, demanded money and jewellery and destroyed her mobile phone when she attempted to call police.

They left with a necklace and earrings worth hundreds of pounds.

A few weeks later, a 32-year-old woman arrived home with her toddler son in her car and saw three men coming out of her garden in off Hook End Lane, Hook End.

They forced her into the house, threatened her and demanded she open a safe.

One of the men hit her head with the blunt side of an axe, which had been taken from the house.

They left with a four figure sum of cash and jewellery. The distressed victim then got her son from the car and called for help.

During the investigation into the two incidents, forensic examinations linked Casey to being at the scene of both crimes.

The 21-year-old of Horseman Side, Brentwood, was arrested and subsequently charged with aggravated burglary for the Brentwood incident on November 23, 2017 and robbery for the Hook End incident on December 13, 2017.

He pleaded guilty to the robbery at Basildon Crown Court on March 14 and admitted the aggravated burglary yesterday, Thursday, April 26.

Casey was sentenced yesterday to seven years and four months for robbery and six years and eight months for the aggravated burglary, to run consecutively.

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Sergeant David Wilkinson of Brentwood CID said: “These were violent and frightening incidents that left the victims very shaken. No-one should feel unsafe in their own home.

“Casey has now been taken off the streets for a significant amount of time and I hope this will give the victims some comfort.”

The other suspects involved in both incidents have not been identified and are still sought by officers.

Anyone with information is asked to call Brentwood CID on 101. Alternatively, contact the Crimestoppers charity 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org