A ‘PERSISTANT and prolific burglar’ from Leamington was caught after the police found his fingerprints on a bottle of beer he drank while acting as the lookout for a night-time break-in.
And at Warwick Crown Court 38-year-old Stefan Watkins of Westlea Road, was jailed for three years and nine months after pleading guilty to burglary, fraud and handling stolen property.
Prosecutor Jason Pegg said at the end of April a woman was sleeping downstairs at her home in Ashford Gardens, Whitnash, when she was woken by the light of a torch.
She called out her husband’s name, at which the intruder fled, having taken bank cards and £60 in cash from a wallet.
One of the bank cards was used a few minutes later to withdraw £200 from a cash machine on the Sydenham estate, but attempts to then use two of the other cards were unsuccessful.
When police investigated the burglary they found an empty bottle of beer on a table in the next-door garden, which the couple’s neighbours said they had not left there.
It was checked by a scenes of crime officer who found Watkins’ fingerprints on it.
The court heard Watkins had pleaded guilty to the burglary on the basis he had taken another man, his drug dealer, to the house.
He said he had not gone inside himself, but had waited outside and kept watch from the neighbouring garden, during which he had drunk the beer.
n the boot of his car the police found a bottle of red wine which had been stolen in a burglary at a house in Princes Street.
And his plea of not guilty to taking part in that burglary but guilty to receiving the wine was accepted at an earlier hearing.
Mr Pegg added Watkins had convictions for 11 previous burglaries dating back to 1997, including one in 2004 when he had asked for 43 others to be taken into consideration.
Alexander Barnfield, defending, said Watkins had long-standing drug problems and on his release from prison he quickly reoffended.
Jailing Watkins, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told him: “You have demonstrated with your record that you are a persistent and prolific burglary.
“You participated in a night-time burglary where people were present in the house.
“It doesn’t make any difference if you take someone to the scene without going in, you are participating in the burglary.”