A burglar who was arrested while trying to leave the UK has been sentenced to more than four years in prison.

Luis Moreno, of no fixed address, burgled a home in the St George's Hill estate in Weybridge on November 11, 2016, using a ladder he found in the garden to reach a first-floor window.

When the victims returned home, they found doors open, a large safe tipped over, and heard the sound of movement upstairs.

They left the house and called police, but when they got there, there was no trace of burglars nearby.

Some expensive jewellery and cash had been stolen.

A small smear of blood left on the safe was forensically linked to Moreno, who was caught while attempting to catch a plane back to Chile from Heathrow on November 26, 2017 – a year after the burglary.

He admitted to the burglary on December 21 at Kingston Crown Court, and was sentenced on January 4 to four years and four months in prison.

Detective Constable Phil Haffenden, who led the investigation, said: “I hope the sentence handed out to Moreno sends out a clear message to others, that if you think you can come to Surrey to commit crime you should think again, as we will track you down and lock you up.

“Anyone who has been burgled knows how devastating it can be. In this case, the family has lost numerous items of very expensive jewellery, some of which are family heirlooms with huge sentimental value that can never be replaced. They are absolutely devastated.

“We don’t want other victims to suffer in this way and I would seriously urge homeowners to think about their own home security. Moreno entered the property through the first-floor window, using a ladder he took from the garden. Please store any ladders in a locked shed or outhouse and make sure your home is fully secure when you go out.”