A bungling burglar was caught after he left his mobile containing pictures of himself at a victim’s home – and then texted police to demand the phone back.
Hapless Anthony Gawthrop, 24, dropped his phone at a house in Cambridge where he stole a laptop.
Gawthrop, who has three previous convictions for burglary, was recognised by police officers from pictures of himself stored on the phone.
He later claimed that the phone had been stolen an hour and a half before the burglary and contacted police to give a false alibi.
But he was forced to plead guilty at Cambridge Crown Court after a judge heard evidence that proved he had been at the crime scene.
Sara Walker, prosecuting, told Cambridge Crown Court: ”The defendant’s picture was on the phone.
”When the police were looking at it, he sent a text message saying: ‘Whoever has got my phone better give it back’.”
Gawthrop claimed that he had used the phone to illuminate the inside of the property while an accomplice stole a laptop on August 28 this year.
But Judge Anthony Bate said evidence suggested he had been inside the house and refused to accept the plea.
Gawthrop returned to court one hour later to plead guilty to the burglary and was told to expect a substantial prison sentence.
In June 2005, Gawthrop leapt from the dock at Cambridge Crown Court and escaped the building because he ”wanted to see his mum”.
He was recaptured and given a three-and-a-half year sentence for burglary and possession of cocaine.
Gawthrop has been remanded in custody for his latest offence and will be sentenced on October 6.
Investigating officer DC Naomi Weir of Cambridgeshire police, today described the events leading up to Gawthrop’s arrest as ”unusual”.
She said: ”This was an unusual case because the offender actually reported his phone was missing before it turned up at the scene of the burglary.
”We’re very happy that Anthony Gawthrop has pleaded guilty at such an early stage and that a prolific burglar has been taken off the streets.”