After cutting himself when he smashed a window while breaking into a basement flat in Leamington, burglar Justin Theobald cleaned up the broken glass and put it in a bin.
And it was blood on the glass and on a tissue he had used when clearing it up that led to his arrest and appearance at Warwick Crown Court.
Theobald, 27, of Kingsway, Leamington, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to the burglary, which he carried out at the flat in Warwick New Road in November.
He stole a Nikon camera and some jewellery after cutting himself on the window he had broken to gain entry to the property and was using to get out.
Before leaving he used a tissue to clear up the broken, bloodstained glass and put it in a bin.
When the owners, a couple in their 30s, returned they found the lights, which had been switched off when they went out, were on and the bin lid was open, and realised they had been burgled.
The blood on the glass from the bin was tested for DNA which provided a match for Theobald, who had 34 previous convictions for 98 offences and was on licence from a three-year sentence for burglary at the time.
Andrew Tucker, defending, commented that Theobald was still only 27, and had spent ‘many, many years throughout his 20s in custody.’
But, despite finding employment and being in a relationship, he struggled to survive in society, turning to ‘legal highs’ after becoming stressed and “life on the outside had become more difficult for him than life on the inside”.
Mr Tucker said Theobald was not struggling financially, and had not gone out to commit a burglary, but having taking shelter from the rain, decided to break into the flat.
Jailing Theobald, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “It is such a pity you have put yourself in this position. You had managed to get yourself a job on your release, which most people I see do not.
“The problem for you is that this has become a way of life. It is something you are trying to get away from, but when things go wrong, you go back to it.”