A BURGLAR caught in the act by a shocked householder was snared by a tracking device fitted to a mobile phone he stole during the break-in.
Callum Woodburn (18) was confronted by Tair Hussain’s younger brother after burgling the family home in Clifton on August 17.
But he unwittingly helped police solve the crime by pinching an iPhone 6 with a built-in tracker.
The burglary at 3am came at the end of a six-day crime spree in which Woodburn, of Elliott Court, Rotherham, targeted four other homes.
Woodburn, who had only been released from detention in July, admitted three burglaries and one attempted burglary at Sheffield Crown Court last Friday.
He also asked for an attempted burglary on August 15 on Wickersley Road, Broom, to be considered.
Recorder Tair Khan QC said of the Clifton Lane burglary: “Tair Hussain and his family had gone to bed that night and when they awoke his brother discovered there was somebody in his bedroom walking around.
“That was you and although there was no physical altercation the householders were aware you were in the house and you made a hasty exit.
“But you clearly had taken some property during the course of the burglary and it was apparent all the rooms had been searched, including at least one of the bedrooms.”
Mr Hussain said in a victim impact statement that he had been burgled three times since March, but prosecutor Mr Michael Tooley said it was not thought Woodburn had carried out the previous burglaries.
The court heard his crime spree began on August 11 at a house on Spinneyfield in Broom.
Woodburn was seen on CCTV climbing over a garden gate and trying the locked garage door handle.
The victim said she was “disgusted the male thinks he has the right to try and break into my home”, adding: “It was very unpleasant and scary watching the CCTV footage.”
Four days later, Woodburn broke into a woman’s Bawtry Road house while she was out.
The woman returned to find her bedroom ransacked — and items stolen in the raid were later found at Woodburn’s home.
The victim said the “upsetting” experience and her “personal space and privacy had been violated” and she now had trouble sleeping.
Mr Tooley said that between August 15 and 16, Woodburn burgled a home on St Mary’s Road, Rawmarsh, while the occupants were sleeping, taking items from a bedroom.
All of Woodburn’s victims said they no longer felt safe in their own home.
Woodburn carried out the break-ins a month after being released from a young offenders’ institution after being given a 32-month sentence for four counts of robbery.
He was sentenced to three years in prison, half of which he will serve on licence.