An organised crime gang who raided pubs and supermarkets across the Thames Valley region have been jailed thanks, in part, to SmartWater evidence.

The trio targeted cigarette kiosks and fruit machines during a crime spree in Maidenhead, Windsor, High Wycombe, Bracknell and Marlow between October 2016 and April 2017.

They broke into supermarkets, a building society and numerous pubs while possession of crowbars and tools and stole large quantities of cigarettes, electronic games and cash.

The stock, cash and damage done to the properties is estimated to be worth just over £15,800.

A breakthrough in the investigation came when Crime Scene Investigators from Thames Valley Police found traces of SmartWater in a vehicle used by the trio during one of their burglaries. Subsequent analysis by SmartWater scientists placed them at the scene of a robbery at a branch of Waitrose in Marlow.

Confronted by irrefutable evidence of their crimes, Michael Bates (29), Liam Buckley (30) and Alexander Buckley (25) all pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to burgle covering nine offences at Reading Crown Court. Bates was jailed for four years and three months, Liam Buckley for four years and one month and Alexander Buckley for two years and nine months.

Following the sentencing, investigating officer, Detective Constable Nicola Tompkins, from the Investigation Hub based at Maidenhead police station, said: “This was a resource intensive investigation into serious, complex and organised crime. I am pleased that Bates and the Buckleys have pleaded guilty to these offences. Organised crime will not be tolerated within the Thames Valley.

“This resulted in a very positive outcome. I would also like to thank SmartWater for assisting Thames Valley Police in this particular investigation. This thank you is extended to the staff at the public houses and supermarkets involved.”