THE quick thinking of a teenager led to a burglar being caught red-handed within minutes of a £6,250 break-in at a house in Callington.
The girl, a passenger in a car, called police after seeing 28-year-old Matthew Morton walking along a pavement on the A388 carrying a hammer and looking into gardens.
Morton, of Sunny View, Higher Road, Pensilva, appeared before Bodmin magistrates in custody on Monday when he admitted stealing jewellery, a wallet and cash from a house in Launceston Road on December 10. The court heard he committed the crime to fund a £30- to £40-a-day heroin habit.
Gail Hawkley, for the prosecution, said the householder had reported the break-in at around 11am and only ten minutes later the girl called police. Shortly afterwards a police officer driving from Callington towards Kelly Bray also saw Morton and noticed that when he saw the police vehicle, he put his hand over a wall.
Told he would be searched Morton, looking "extremely anxious and nervous", replied: "I've got some jewellery – I found it in a hedge up there." He claimed he was on his way to hand it in.
Morton then struggled with the officer, who found a pair of socks and items of jewellery in his pocket. Other items were behind the wall.
Ms Hawkley said Morton had broken a window causing damage costing £920.
In a prepared statement to police, Morton insisted he had found the items, but when formally charged admitted stealing them. He had previous convictions, but not for similar offences.
William Hazelton, for the defence, said Morton had been caught red-handed and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He had shown remorse, the property was unoccupied at the time of the burglary and all the goods had been recovered.
The case was adjourned until February 6 for a pre-sentence report and for Morton to be assessed for a drug rehabilitation requirement. He was bailed on condition he resides at his home and co-operates with the probation service.