Two men who assaulted petrol station staff with hammers were part of a gang of four jailed for a combined total of 25 years.

The four men were sentenced at Southampton Crown Court after pleading guilty to their part in a series of robberies and burglaries against businesses.

The men, sometimes acting together and sometimes acting alone, burgled shops and robbed businesses across the Southampton and Eastleigh area between November 16 and December 4, 2017, sometimes targeting more than one shop in a day.

In total, the four men admitted to a combined 20 offences which included 13 business robberies, five burglaries and two personal robberies.

Kevin Owen, 39 of Violet Road, Southampton has been sentenced to eight and a half years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to four commercial burglaries, seven commercial robberies and one personal robbery. Some crimes were committed alongside Andrew Havinga and Dean Robert Higham.

Andrew Havinga, 23 of Mayfield Road, Southampton has been sentenced to six years after pleading guilty to one commercial burglary, one personal robbery and four commercial robberies against businesses in Southampton either on his own or with Kevin Owen.

Dean Robert Higham, 55, of Anson Drive, Southampton has been sentenced to six years after admitting to five commercial robberies, two commercial burglaries and one personal robbery, occasionally working with Kevin Owen and Andrew Havinga to carry out offences, as well as with John Beesley.

John Paul Beesley, 39, of no fixed abode has been sentenced to four and a half years after admitting to three robberies against businesses in Southampton and Eastleigh, one personal robbery and two counts of fraud, alongside Dean Higham.

Senior investigating officer detective sergeant Damon Kennard said: “This was a complex investigation, tracking four men wreaking havoc across Southampton and Eastleigh, not only damaging property and stealing from businesses, but also threatening and assaulting people at their place of work for their own selfish greed.

“The men only managed to steal a couple of hundred pounds each time, and sometimes leaving with nothing, but they used a high level intimidation and violence to get through these conceited, vicious robberies and crude burglaries.

“Owen and Havinga started the spree working together to burgle local shops and then rob businesses, brandishing planks of wood, bottles and hammers.

“Higham and Beesley worked together to rob a hair salon and a customer therein. Beesley later used the customer’s bank card and then went onto rob the Premier Store on Addis Square.

“Higham and Owen used hammers to assault staff at the petrol station at Rownhams before stealing the contents of the till and cigarettes.

“At one point, Havinga and Owen committed eight offences in four days, sometimes together, sometimes apart.

“These men have admitted to offences alone and together. We were able to link and identify them through hours of CCTV and forensic analysis.

“Such was the evidence against them, they pleaded guilty to a range of burglaries, robberies and frauds between November 16 and December 4, 2017.

“I’d like to thank the public and the media for their support when we appealed for the whereabouts of Owen and Havinga and I’d like to thank those victims and witnesses who submitted personal statements to support the court process in order to bring these violent offenders to justice.