It was a spate of thefts that most certainly would have stumped Inspector Clouseau.

How could airline passengers travelling on a shuttle bus between Paris and Beauvais airport start their journey with all their belongings safely in the hold, but end it with all their valuables gone?

The bus hadn't stopped during the 75-minute journey, making it hard for a thief to safely break in or escape.

Nor was there any sign of forced entry in the luggage hold compartment when passengers reached their destination.

The mystery that had French detectives scratching their heads.

That is until one eagle-eyed bus driver spotted a suspicious large brown bag being loaded onto the coach as he prepared to make the trip from Paris.

It appeared to be moving on its own...

After tipping off the police, detectives at Beauvais waited for the bus to arrive before pouncing on a Romanian man who came to collect the suitcase along with a smaller black rucksack.

"In the black bag we found two laptops, money and various objects of value," a police source told AFP.

Detectives then found the man's accomplice hidden inside the brown bag.

A court later heard how, once alone in the baggage hold, the dimniutive thief would pull a strap attached to the zip to free himself before spending the rest of the bus journey ransacking passengers' bags.

He would place the valuables in another bag before zipping himself back up to be collected by his partner in crime.

Both men, aged around 40, had criminal records for theft, AFP reported.

The man inside the suitcase received an eight-month prison sentence on Monday (16 October) when he appeared in court.

His co-defendant was given a one-year prison sentence because of his more serious criminal record, prosecutor Florent Boura said.