Police who arrested a serial burglar said they could not charge him – because the DNA evidence was found on a tool used in the crime.
The well-known thief was taken into custody after his DNA was discovered on a roll of tape at the home of Gerald Dargle, 80.
Devastated Gerald came home to find burglars had ripped pipes and cables from his walls and ceilings in a bid to steal copper.
The thieves ransacked his cottage and even tampered with gas pipes which meant the home was filled with potentially explosive fumes.
Following the incident ten months ago detectives said the DNA sample matched a well-known local burglar and a man was arrested – but later released without charge.
Officers have now written to Gerald and explained because the DNA was found on a ”moveable item” it could not be used to prosecute.
Police said the DNA could have already been on the roll when it was brought to the cottage.
Gerald, of Malvern, Worcs., was told there would be no charges because there was ”insufficient evidence”.
Fuming Gerald, 80, said: “They said the reason for it was the tape was a movable item, which is ridiculous – who else would have put it there?
“If you found a piece of tape wrapped three times round your gas pipes then surely that is evidence they were there?”
The burglars made off with copper piping from the heating system and electrical wiring in Gerald’s home.
Detective Sergeant Chris Watson, from West Mercia Police, said Hereford CID has done ”all it could” and had kept him informed of any developments.
He said: “Unfortunately, this single piece of evidence would not reach the burden of proof needed for a successful prosecution.
“While forensics found DNA of a known offender on a piece of electrical tape, it was assessed that this was not enough to pursue a prosecution.
“If the DNA had been found on a permanent object in the property this would have been strong proof of this person being in the property.
“However, it was found on an item which had been brought to the scene of the crime.
“We have done all we can in this case, so it’s a shame that Mr Dargle still does not feel the same way despite a number of reviews being done into our work, all of which found that it was satisfactory and there was no chance of it proceeding further.”
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