A 19-year-burglar has just begun an 11-month stretch at Her Majesty's Pleasure after he was captured burgling a house by the owner's webcam. Fed-up software engineer Duncan Grisby set up the surveillance system following a previous burglary three years before. It recorded deliciously crisp images of Benjamin Park who delighted police immediately identified.
Cambridgeshire Police Burglary Squad supremo, Det Sgt Alan Page, told the BBC: "The webcam was set up in his computer and began filming once it registered motion. It captured every movement Park made. At one point he stared into the computer as if it might be making a noise or something to make him suspicious.
"He then stole the computer but it didn't matter because Mr Grisby had set it up so that as it was recording it was sending the images to an email address. When the break-in was discovered Mr Grisby simply gave us the email address and we were able to watch several minutes of footage and say: 'That's Ben Park'."
Page continued: "Mr Grisby is an extremely bright man. He'd set this up because he'd been burgled some years ago and the quality was superb. It was better than a burglar alarm and when Park initially denied breaking in to the property we were simply able to show him the footage."
Cambridge magistrates heard that Park - who has more than 13 previous convictions for theft, and was on bail for attempted burglary when he struck at Grisby's hi-tech domicile - lifted computer equipment and other property with a value of almost £4,000 from the house. They jailed him for 11 months.
Grisby noted: "The burglary was a real violation of my private space but at least he got caught. I just wish he'd got a longer sentence." ®
Thanks to reader Mike Plunkett whose Chav radar is in fine working order today.