Scent from cap led police dog to burglar

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A BURGLAR and car thief was caught by a police dog which followed his scent from a discarded cap.

Thomas Cairns crashed the stolen Peugeot 206 and fled, Durham Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Katherine Dunn said a police dog was able track Cairns from his cap left in the car.

Ms Dunn added: “The dog then found a shirt in a street short distance away.

“The shirt had been taken off by Cairns as he made his way from the scene.

“It was checked for DNA and police were later able to link it to Cairns.”

Cairns, 19, of Fir Avenue, Sherburn Road Estate, Durham City, admitted aggravated burglary in Wakenshaw Road, Gilesgate, during which he stole alcohol, a mobile phone, and the keys to the Peugeot, along with aggravated vehicle taking, both on April 29.

Ros Scot Bell, defending, said in mitigation: “He had been out drinking that night and has little recollection of what happened.

“Mr Cairns does have a previous conviction for battery, but this offence was out of character.

“Since it happened, he has cut down markedly on his drinking.

“He is not work shy and has a job which he enjoys.”

The Recorder, Mr Ian Atherton, sentenced Cairns to 14 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, an 18-month supervision order, and a curfew for two months.

Cairns must pay £500 compensation to his victim and was banned from driving for a year and must take an extended test if he wishes to drive again.