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Christmas burglar nabbed after taking bite from mince pie

Max Collier Credit: ITV Border

A Christmas burglar was captured after leaving his DNA on a mince pie he took a bite from at the crime scene, a court has heard.

Max Collier, 21, unscrewed a cat flap to help him sneak into a house at Alston, while the sole female occupant was upstairs in the early hours of 19 December, 2016.

Collier snatched children's presents from under a Christmas tree, and also grabbed alcohol and money before fleeing as the occupant came downstairs to investigate noises.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how Collier was eventually traced - because he took a single bite from a mince pie in the kitchen before he left.

When stopped by Northumbria Police many months later, his DNA was entered on to a database and linked him with the Cumbria crime.

Collier - a man of previous good character - was brought to court and admitted burglary. He had a 12-month jail term suspended for two years by Judge Barbara Forrester.

Collier, of Capel Avenue, Haltwhistle, must also complete a rehabilitation activity requirement, 120 hours' unpaid work and pay £200 compensation for what Judge Forrester called a "very mean" offence.