A BURGLAR who called a taxi to flee with his ill-gotten gains was tracked down by his victim's son and has been jailed for four years.
Truro Crown Court was told on Friday that Mark James, 34, and living in Helston at the time, admitted to two burglaries in Clodgey Lane in the town within five days of being released on licence from a three-year jail sentence.
He burgled neighbouring homes and stole what the prosecution described as a substantial amount of property.
But he didn't reckon on the persistence and deductive skills of Sam Roach, whose father Simon, 71, lives in one of the targeted properties.
Simon said his son saw "a load of electrical stuff" in a bag outside the front gate.
"He came into the house and said, 'you had better tell the police'. He was pretty sure it had been stolen."
Simon then went outside and saw James, and told the West Briton: "He said he had been chucked out by his girlfriend, it was his stuff and he was taking it to his mother's.
"I was trying to keep him talking, hoping the police would come."
Later, after establishing that James had booked a taxi, Sam found out which taxi firm James had used.
He traced him through the driver to an address in Coinagehall Street.
He confronted James who eventually gave him what turned out to be the neighbour's stolen property.
Police later called to say they had recovered most of Simon's property too.
He said: "I am glad to get it back, it was mostly sentimental stuff."
Judge Graham Cottle was told at Friday's hearing that James was arrested because of the persistence of Sam Roach.
Judge Cottle told James: "You are a prolific offender. It appears you have chosen from a early age to live a life of crime. You were first in court when you were 14 and since that time your court appearances have only been interrupted by periods in custody."
Prosecutor Elaine Hobson, for the CPS, said James had a long history of offending with 37 convictions for 156 offences, and admitted in interview that he had probably spent 18 of the past 20 years in prison.
Jeremy Leaning, for the defence, said James was no professional who had not used any vehicle or tools and had not converted any of the stolen goods into cash.
He is the son of Margaret James, who is serving 20 years for conspiracy to murder Peter Solheim.