A DOUBLE house breaker was caught after an eagle-eyed schoolgirl spotted him and his gang raiding a house while out walking her dog, a court heard.
The 15-year-old was talking a stroll on rugby fields behind the home in Newchurch Road, Rawtenstall, when she spotted two men, dressed in dark clothing, with one of them trying to hide something behind him.
The second man ran off but then came back and the teenager saw the pair go to a car.
As the thieves loaded their haul into the vehicle and were driven away, the girl put the car’s registration number into her mobile phone. She then alerted her parents and police were called.
Burnley Crown Court was told officers then went to 18-year-old Andrew Moon's home and recovered not only electrical items and jewellery belonging to victim, Stephen Greenwood, 64, but also stolen property from another house break-in on East Parade, Rawtenstall, committed about a fortnight before. He was arrested.
Moon has been jailed for 12 months. The defendant, of no fixed address, but formerly of Taylor Avenue, Waterfoot, admitted two counts of burglary, which took place between between May 3 and May 6 and on May 22.
Prosecutor Emma Kehoe said Stephen O’Neil’s and his partner’s home was targeted while he was away for the weekend and she was at a wedding.
She returned in the early hours of May 5 and realised their X-Box was missing. She found drawers and cupboards open and contacted police, reporting a PS4, PS3 and a laptop computer had also gone.
Mrs Kehoe said Mr Greenwood's wife also came home to discover it had been burgled.
The culprits had got in through an upstairs window after dragging over a bench and climbing on to a sloping roof.
When police went to the defendant's home, they found the stolen laptop behind a set of drawers. It was identified by the victim as being his, which brought about his arrest for the first offence as well.
The prosecutor said footwear prints had been left at the home of the Greenwoods and they matched the trainers the defendant was wearing. Moon has 26 offences on his record.
Tom Lord, defending, said Moon, who has been in custody since May 25, was immature and had a troubled background.
Sentencing, Judge Ian Leeming, QC, told the defendant: “You have a significant record of previous offending for your age.”