After a CCTV monitoring system alerted the police to a break-in at a Rugby building supplies company, officers found a van with more than £70,000 worth of stolen tools in it.
Three men were arrested at the scene of what was in fact the third burglary they had carried out that day, Warwick Crown Court has heard.
Terence Maughan, Douglas Ward and Martin Ward all pleaded guilty to the burglary at the Travis Perkins builders’ merchant premises in Somers Road, Rugby.
Maughan (26) of Bestwood Road, Nottingham; Douglas Ward (30) of no fixed address; and Martin Ward (34) of Slapton Road, Little Billington, Leighton Buzzard, also admitted carrying out two other burglaries.
But they denied the theft of the van, which had been stolen a few weeks earlier, and that charge was allowed to lie on the court file.
Prosecutor James Dunstan said the three burglaries on Sunday March 21 all involved the use of the van, which had been stolen in Surrey in February.
The first took pace at Nuneaton Self Storage in Slingsby Close, Nuneaton, at around 5.10pm when the main gate was forced open after a circular saw had been used to cut the lock. One of the containers at the site was entered and a tool box taken.
The trio then moved on to the T W Wholesale tool supply company in Cadley Road, Swadlincote, where they forced a security gate and escaped with just over £8,000 worth of power tools.
They then struck at Travis Perkins where an alarm was set off by a remote CCTV monitoring system, alerting the police.
When officers arrived, they caught the three men red-handed and arrested them. In the van they found £66,000 worth of tools taken from Travis Perkins, together with the tools from T W Wholesale, added Mr Dunstan.
Adjourning the case for pre-sentence reports to be prepared, Judge Sarah Buckingham remanded all three men in custody.