THREE men “tooled-up” with a pick-axe, a sledge hammer and a screwdriver attempted to break into a Hampshire shopping centre.

They were spotted attempting to carry out an overnight raid at the Swan Centre in Eastleigh.

But they were thwarted when they were reported to police, who arrested them.

They told police they had found the bag of tools and were “free-running” across the roofs of Eastleigh.

Two of the trio, Scott Pearce and Ross Anderson, were jailed for 20 months at Southampton Crown Court.

The third, Alfie Carpenter, 19, avoided a prison sentence.

The court was told how the group were spotted “acting suspiciously” in the car-park of the shopping centre, around 11.30pm on August 9.

Prosecutor Dawn Hyland said how police were called by a member of the public.

She said: “The three defendants ran off on the arrival of the police.

“They jumped over a small wall and tried to run across the roof but there was a big drop onto Wells Place. They were asked by the police to come back over the wall, which they did.”

Security staff at the Swan Center said damage was caused to a window on the roof of the building and that the damage was new.

All three later admitted attempted burglary.

The Crown Prosecution Service asked for a charge of going equipped for theft, due to the group having tools, a face mask and several sets of gloves, to lie on each of the defendants’ file.

Michael Mason, defending all three, said Ross Anderson was “genuinely remorseful” and was “sorry for being such an idiot.”

He said Anderson, 27, was currently employed at a flooring company and was currently expecting his second child.

Mr Mason said father-of-one Pearce, 31, who works as a delivery driver for Dominoes, was “remorseful and regretful”.

Speaking about father-of-one Carpenter, Mr Mason said his client was signed off work.

He said he suffered from depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorder.

Judge Christopher Parker QC jailed Pearce, of Viny House, Fareham, for nine months, He jailed Anderson, of The Firs, Gosport, for 11 months – due to the latter breaching a community order by committing the offence.

But he spared Carpenter an immediate sentence, due to his age.

He said: “You’ve escaped prison by the thinnest possible margin.

“If you had been a year older, you would be facing an immediate custodial sentence.

“Count this as a lucky break in your life, it’s down to you from here on.”

Carpenter, of Howe Road, Gosport, was given a six month detention order, suspended for 18 months.

He was also made subject of a six month curfew, between 7pm and 7am each day.