A burglar was linked to a house raid by a can of lager he left at the scene.
Colin Ayre finished off a can of Fosters while stealing £500 worth of building equipment from a house undergoing extensive renovation last October.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 37-year-old left his empty can behind when he made off from the property at Shields Place, Houghton Le Spring.
He was arrested after DNA on the can, as well as finger prints found on wood he had taped up and abandoned, were linked to him.
Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court: "Left inside was an empty Fosters can, his DNA was on the Fosters can.
"His finger prints were on the black tape."
The court heard although some of the wood was recovered, the owner was left £500 "out of pocket".
Ayre, of Kirklea Road, Houghton le Spring, who has previous convictions, admitted burglary.
Judge Stephen Earl sentenced him to nine months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 40 hours unpaid work.
The judge said Ayre's record for burglary was "appalling" and told him: "You entered the premises, something you have been fond of doing in the past, and you have stolen property therein."
Barry Robson, defending, said it was a "renovation project" that was raided, not a family home.
Ayre had been in custody on remand since the beginning of January.