Three ruthless armed robbers who strangled mothers in front of their young children to steal their jewellery have been jailed for more than 45 years.

The gang, described as among London's "most dangerous" criminals, executed eight meticulously planned robberies in Battersea and Clapham of wealthy women who were pushing prams and had their children with them.

The mothers were attacked from behind, put in a stranglehold and forced to the ground when the men would steal any jewellery they were wearing.

Each of the attacks, which took place between October 2010 and March 2011, was witnessed by their terrified youngsters.

Detectives investigating the case described the gang, who were active for a decade, as one of the most dangerous to have operated within London in recent years.

All the victims suffered severe strangulation injuries, many passed-out during attacks and one woman, who was seven months pregnant, needed reconstructive surgery to her jaw.

DC Dan Williams, of Wandsworth Robbery Squad, said: "The high level of premeditated violence used against lone women over such a period was disgraceful.

"These men were ruthless and presented a very real and persistent danger to women. "Sentences of this nature are a powerful deterrent to others who seek to engage in this type of violent crime.

"The courage and determination of the victims of these crimes and members of the community who gave evidence has been commendable. "We all hope this result has assisted with their recovery knowing their assailants have been brought to justice."

Detectives later discovered that the callous gang sold the stolen jewellery in the Hatton Garden diamond markets to fund shopping sprees with their girlfriends.

Christopher Byom, 28, from Gardiner House, in Surrey Lane Estate, Battersea, was jailed for 21 years for robbery at Kingston Crown Court on Friday (September 7).

Fellow defendant Perrie Williams, 26, from Wandsworth Common West Side, was handed a 17-year sentence also for robbery.

A third man, Anton Lord, 33, from Croydon, was sentenced to eight and a half years.

Byom and Williams were found guillty on May 23 while Lord admitted robbery prior to the trial, also at Kingston Crown Court.

All four men were also handed an additional four years licence for public protection, meaning they must adhere to strict conditions for that period once they complete their respective sentences.