Housebreaker caught after dropping his phone at scene of botched break-in

A hapless raider was rumbled when he dropped his mobile phone at the scene of a botched break in.

George Halliday, 45, was caught attempting to force his way into a family home by prising open a window.

However, he made such a racket an occupier was woken up and he came downstairs to the kitchen, where he caught Halliday in the act.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard Halliday fled from the property at Park Road, in Johnstone, empty-handed but dropped his handset in the garden in the early hours of August 8. last year.

Procurator fiscal depute Kara Watt told the court: “At around 3.30am on the morning in question witnesses at the property at Park Road were awoken by a noise.

“A witness went downstairs and saw someone trying to force open a window.

“The accused Halliday was in the back garden attempting to force open the window using an unknown implement.

“The householder contacted police who attended and officers recovered a mobile phone from the garden.

“The device was sent for analysis, which recovered DNA from the accused.”

The court heard Halliday also targeted an unlocked car parked outside the Lynnhurst Hotel, also in Park Road, Johnstone, the following day.

The prosecutor added he was spotted on CCTV entering a motor in the car park, where “he remained for a considerable period of time,” before he was spotted leaving.

The car’s owner reported stolen his sat nav, a vehicle diagnostic device, CDs and cigarettes.

The total haul is valued at £650, and there has been no recovery of the items.

Ms Watt told the court cops arrested Halliday at his home address on August 14, but he made no reply when he was charged.

Yesterday Halliday of Buchanan Street, Johnstone, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to force open a window with an unknown implement and attempting to break into a house with the intention of stealing.

He also admitted to entering an insecure car and stealing items belonging to a guest at the hotel.

Defence agent Terry Gallanagh confirmed that his client was admitting responsibility for the offences at a pre-trial hearing.

He said: “He felt isolated during the lockdown and having been addicted to drugs before, he fell back into drug misuse.

“He tells me he is now clean of drugs and has been engaging with those supervising him on another community payback order.”

Sheriff Tom McCartney adjourned the case and called for background reports but warned Halliday he may be locked up when he appears for sentencing.

He said: “I simply will make no decision until I have all the reports but you may be faced with a prison sentence when you come back.”

He will discover his fate on October 22.

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