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Bungling burglar Stephen Cole snared by DNA

Canterbury Crown Court

by Paul Hooper

Gormless burglar Stephen Cole thought he had committed the perfect break-in after snatching £100 from an Ashford building site.

The 24-year-old raider had scaled an eight-foot fence on the Ellingham Industrial Estate, carrying a jerry can and hose pipe planning to siphon fuel.

After spotting CCTV cameras, the cunning raider decided to steal a computer hard drive that he believed recorded footage of the break-in.

But in his haste, Cole left behind the plastic pipe - containing his DNA.

And when police investigated the raid, they discovered the CCTV was so poor, he could not have been identified anyway.

Thomas Restell, defending told Canterbury Crown Court on Friday: "I hope my client will forgive me saying that he is not the brightest, nor the deepest thinker nor the quickest to respond to common sense actions... and his short-term memory is exceedingly bad."

The court heard how Cole, from Brattle, Woodchurch, had broken into the Keogh Construction company's yard in June last year.

Donna East, prosecuting, said he had been carrying the can and the hose intending to siphon diesel.

Instead, he broke into another part of the building and stole £100 in cash and the hard drive.

"he is not the brightest, nor the deepest thinker nor the quickest to respond to common sense actions…” – thomas restell, defending

"However, he left behind a length of hose which was analysed and discovered that the defendant's DNA had been left on it," she said.

"Ironically, the CCTV was of such poor quality that all it showed was the burglar was a male. But the hard drive did contain a lot of the company's information which caused it a lot of inconvenience."

The court heard that when police went to Cole's home they also found him growing cannabis.

Cole, who admitted burglary and producing a class B drug, was given an 18-month community order and told to remain in his home between 9pm and 6am for the next three months.

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