THREE men from Chile who travelled to the UK with the intention of committing crime have been jailed for more than 13 years at Chester Crown Court.

Nicholas Oviedo, 26, Alexis Oviedo, 25, and Joel Ureta, 42, were all members of an organised crime gang that arrived in the UK in January with the sole aim of committing burglaries at high-value homes, including ones in Cheshire.

After arriving in the country, they set up base at a hotel in Manchester and hired a car to help them commit their offences.

Between Saturday, January4, and Wednesday, January 15, the trio committed multiple burglaries in affluent areas of Cheshire.

Thankfully, their crime spree was brought to an end when a man out walking on Legh Road, Knutsford, heard an alarm going off at a nearby address.

He approached the house and noticed two men, who were acting suspiciously, getting into the car that the trio had hired, a dark Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which was parked near to the entrance.

The man made a note of the registration number and reported his concerns to Cheshire Police.

Officers quickly attended the scene and confirmed that there had been a break-in at the address.

A police marker was subsequently placed on the vehicle.

The car was later stopped by officers in Greater Manchester and the three occupants were arrested and transferred to Cheshire.

An investigation was launched by detectives from Macclesfield CID and they uncovered evidence, including ANPR data and cell-site analysis, which linked the men to at least seven burglaries, committed in the Knutsford, Alderley Edge, Wilmslow and Prestbury areas.

The trio, all of no fixed addresses, subsequently pleaded guilty to seven counts of burglary.

They were all sentenced at Chester Crown Court today (Wednesday, July 1).

They were jailed for a combined total of 13 years and four months.

Nicolas Oviedo received a four-year prison sentence.

Alexis Oviedo and Ureta were both handed custodial sentences of four years and eight months.

Following their sentencing, detective inspector Adam Alexander, who led the investigation, said: “Nicholas Oviedo, Alexis Oviedo and Joel Ureta are all members of a sophisticated organised crime gang that travels the world intent on committing crime.

“The burglaries were carefully planned and the trio specifically targeted high-value homes with the aim of stealing valuable items, including jewellery, before fleeing the country and hoping to evade justice.

“Thankfully, as a result of an eagle-eyed neighbour and the work of a dedicated team of detectives, they are now facing the consequences of their actions.”

This is the second case of ‘burglary tourism’ convictions in Cheshire in recent weeks.

Following the successful prosecutions, the force is continuing to work closely with a number of agencies to deter other people coming to Cheshire to commit crimes.

Detective chief inspector Clare Coleman, crime manager at Cheshire Constabulary, said: “Prevention is a key part of what we do and, on the back of this case, we are working closely with agencies, including Border Force and Manchester Airport, to help identify other potential offenders and stop them from coming into the UK.

“Our officers are committed to doing all they can to identify offenders and stop them in their tracks.

“I hope that this case acts as a warning to anyone who is planning on travelling to Cheshire to commit crimes. Our message to them is don’t make a wasted journey.”

All three men will be deported to Chile, South America, once they have served their sentences.