AN ALLEGED burglar was caught within hours of raiding a home in Lympstone by the owner using a ‘find my phone’ app to trace her stolen mobile, Ted Davenport writes.

Dominic Smith is alleged to have stolen three phones, a wallet, and bank cards during the early morning burglary at a cottage in Church Street on May 1 this year.

He was arrested shortly after 11 am asleep at a house in Summer Close, Exmouth, with the three missing phones next to him and the stolen wallet in his back pocket. A silver pocket watch stolen from the cottage was nearby.

CCTV showed him trying unsuccessfully to withdraw cash using three of the stolen bank cards at a nearby Coop shop in Exmouth at 6.30am.

Smith denies carrying out the burglary and says he was given the cards by another man and told to try to obtain money on them.

He also denies being a man who was seen on CCTV in Lympstone at 6.05 and 6.07 the same morning who appeared to be wearing clothing similar to that which he had on when he was arrested and in the Coop.

A green Muddy Fox mountain bike that was stolen from outside the Swan Inn in Lympstone on the night of the burglary and an identical bike was seen outside the house in Summer Drive when Smith was arrested.

It was not seized or examined by police because it had not been reported as stolen and its possible significance was only realised when the CCTV from Lympstone was recovered some days later.

Smith, aged 43, of Summer Close, Exmouth, denies burglary but the jury at Exeter Crown Court has been told that he has admitted attempted fraud, which relates to the use of the cards in the Coop.

Miss Christine Hart, prosecuting, said a couple and their adult son woke up on May 1 this year to find their home had been burgled and a wallet, cards, a pocket watch, and three phones were stolen.

The owner of one of the phones used an app to trace it and gave police the address which was identified in Summer Close where Smith and another man named Lee Jones were arrested.

She said the prosecution’s case is that Smith carried out the burglary, returned to Exmouth on the bike, and tried unsuccessfully to use the cards before going back to Summer Close, where he fell asleep.

There was obvious evidence of drug taking at the house, with pieces of foil and used needles on the floor.

Smith is due to give evidence when the case resumes next week but has filed a defence which says he had been stabbed in one hand in an attack earlier and was staying at Summer Close when another man came back and asked him to use the cards.