A man who stole a £14,000 Jaguar and crashed it in Basildon has been spared prison.

Daryl Munro, 26, of Pound Lane in North Benfleet had been convicted of two counts of burglary and one count of aggravated vehicle taking at Chelmsford Crown Court on May 21. He was cleared of one count of burglary.

The court heard how Munro broke into two homes in South Woodham Ferrers overnight in October last year.

He took a PlayStation 4 and other gaming equipment, watches, earrings, hundreds of pounds in cash, and children’s birthday cards containing cash, at a home in Hallowell Down.

The same night, Munro entered a house on Clements Green Lane in the village and, as well as taking items worth up to £3000 including an iPhone, stole the car keys for a red Jaguar XF. Munro stole the car and, having driven it to Basildon, crashed it into a wall outside the Texaco service station on Whitmore Road just before 5.40am on October 14.

The Jaguar also crashed into a parked car, before Munro dumped it and made off from the scene, leaving the majority of the stolen property inside.

Later that day, CCTV of Munro was released on Facebook and he was positively identified. Forensic testing of the Jaguar also linked Munro to the vehicle and burglaries, as fingerprints and spots of blood tested positive for his DNA.

Munro was arrested in Canvey on December 3.

At Chelmsford Crown Court he was sentenced to two years and nine months imprisonment suspended for two years for the burglary in Clements Road, ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and must pay £5,500 back to the owner of the Jaguar over the course of 12 months.

He received a suspended 12 month sentence to run concurrently for the aggravated vehicle taking and has been banned from driving for two years. For the Hallowell Down burglary, he was sentenced to a suspended 18 months in prison.

Det Con Harriet Ware, of Chelmsford CID, said: "Entering people’s homes when they are asleep and stealing their hard-earned property is an appalling crime.

"It’s an invasion of people's personal space and has a lasting impact on the victims. Munro burgled my victims' houses without any care or remorse for his actions.

"It's extremely fortunate that no one was hurt when he crashed the car.

"I am happy that Munro has been found guilty and hope my victims can find closure."