A 'THIRD-strike' burglar has been jailed for 27 months after he was caught by a high-tech security app as he broke into a Cotswolds village home.

Gloucester Crown Court was told yesterday that householder Mark Hughes had a security app on his phone which alerted him to his burglar alarm going off and sent him a CCTV image of intruder Ray Walton breaking in.

Prosecutor Alex Daymond said: “Mr Hughes raced back to his house in Hazleton, nr Northleach, to find the back door broken and muddy footprints on the stairs. He also discovered that significant items of jewellery had gone missing from the bedroom.

“Police conducted local enquires and discovered that a silver pickup truck was touting the area drumming up work for specialist resin bound driveways. A neighbour said the truck had been parked in Mr Hughes driveway at the time of the break in.

“The police traced the owner of the truck to Mr Walton, 45, of Swindon road, Cheltenham, who initially denied burgling the house on November 16 last year. He later admitted the charge after taking legal advice.”

The court was told that Walton is a 'three-strike' burglar liable to a mandatory minimum jail term as he has previously committed domestic burglaries in 2007 and 2011. On this occasion he stole two gold/diamond rings, two watches, a bracelet and other jewellery to the value of £1,140.

Susan Cavender, defending, explained that Walton’s first conviction had been to pay back a drug debt and the latest incident was because he had been thrown out of the family home the day before the burglary.

Judge Ian Lawrie QC observed: “It looks like Walton has delved back into his past. He’s burgled somebody’s home. He’s done it before.”

Ms Cavender added: “Walton regrets his behaviour and wishes he could turn the clock back. He readily admits making this disastrous decision to burgle this house. He has offered to resurface the victim’s driveway as a form of recompense.

“His actions have jeopardised everything he has built up over recent years.

“This is a man who has turned his life around and has gone straight. He made a dreadful decision that day. He is desperate to prove he can lead a law-abiding life."

Judge Lawrie told Walton, who was appearing via video link, “I have to sentence you as a three-strike burglar. Your actions have impacted on your victims and you have invaded the sanctity of their home.

“But what I find it hard to understand is that you were doing a good job, but when things went wrong you chose to revisit your old life by burgling a property.

“The reality is that there is no alternative but to sentence you to an immediate prison term of two years and three months.”