Sneak thief snared by Skype

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A SNEAKY burglar was caught in the act by a DIY detective - who was over 2,000 miles away.

Ricky Elliott crept into Sunderland student Effrosyni Leventi’s bedroom while she was busy cooking her dinner in the kitchen.

What the 35-year-old serial raider didn’t realise was that Miss Leventi’s pal in Cyprus was able to watch the entire burglary in progress - via Skype.

Quick thinking Asterios Kokkinis, who had just been chatting with Miss Leventi over the device, realised what he was seeing and recorded images of the raider in the act.

The pictures were then emailed to Miss Leventi, downloaded onto a disc and then passed onto the police who quickly arrested the culprit, who has convictions for 142 previous offences.

Elliott, of Hendon, admitted burglary and was yesterday jailed for two years and five months.

Prosecutor Paul Rowland told the court Miss Leventi had been chatting with Mr Kokkinis via the computer on Febraury 18, which enabled them to see images of each other, in the early evening.

Miss Leventi interrupted the conversation for a few moments so she could check on her food.

Mr Rowland said: “Mr Kokkinis was in Cyprus but he was still able to view the room.

“He saw the defendant enter the room, search through her possessions and had the presence of mind at that stage to take some still photographs of what he was observing.”

The court heard Elliott, who had started to pack Miss Leventi’s lap top into a bag, fled when she came back into the room.

Elliott may have assumed at that stage he had got away scott free.

But Mr Rowland added: “The matter was reported to the police.

“They obtained images from the complainant, they were burnt onto a disc after they had been sent by her friend.

“The defendant was recognised as the person responsible and he was arrested.”

Judge Brian Forster told Elliott as he jailed him: “This court has to reflect the view of the public and parliament that homes will be protected.”

Alec Burns, defending, told the court Elliott carried out the raid to fund his drug addiction.

Mr Burns said: “He has managed to ruin his long term relationship as well as everything else.”

Twitter: @sunderlandecho