A gang of thieves who broke into a Huddersfield petrol station were caught because they set off the alarm, a court heard.
Three intruders got inside the Jet Station in Scar Lane, Milnsbridge, around 4.40am on March 3 after removing tiles from the roof and dropping through a hole which they had created.
Geraldine Kelly, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court today the burglars had bagged up to £3,000 worth of cigarettes ready to take them but were foiled by the arrival of the police.
They fled through the hole in the roof and tried to escape but because the police helicopter and dogs were used they were all found hiding separately in the area.
When they were arrested they were found to have gloves and torches on them. Damage to the roof was estimated at £4,000.
Simon Batiste representing one of the trio, Iulian Ene, said he had come to the UK looking for work and when it was not available he had become desperate.
Someone else had driven them to the petrol station and “told them what to do and they did it.” He said his client was now keen to return to Rumania.
Matthew Harding for Iustinian Frincu said he too wanted to go back to his own country where he had a sick child.
Ene, 25, Frincu, 26 and Tudor Valentine Orcsik, 38, of no fixed address each admitted the burglary and were jailed for 16 months.
Judge James Spencer QC told them: “Each of you got involved in this burglary for commercial gain. It was carried out in my judgment by men experienced in gaining entry to buildings. You targeted the most valuable items, cigarettes and would have stolen £3,000 worth.”