A conman who pretended to be a wealthy foreign tycoon to gain access to luxury properties has been jailed for stealing jewellery from the home of British socialite Petra Ecclestone.

Earlier this year (13), William Flynn, 36, disguised himself as a Kazakh oligarch and claimed to be interested in buying Ecclestone's $48 million (£32 million) London mansion, but he stole around $750,000 (£500,000) worth of precious gems during a tour of property.

He pleaded guilty to the theft, as well as more than 30 other burglaries, and was sentenced to eight years in jail during a hearing a Basildon Crown Court in Essex, England on Thursday (02Jan13).

During the proceedings, the court was told Ecclestone, who was not at home at the time of the burglary, was left "distressed" by the incident.