England -

A burglar who was disturbed during a break-in when his victim returned home hid in a wardrobe for 13 hours before continuing his robbery.

Aaron Bradford, 18, dived into the cupboard in a house in Yelverton, Devon, when the owner came back at 2.40pm and discovered that it had been ransacked.

After the police were called, officers arrived at the house while Bradford kept quiet in his hiding place. He emerged at 4am after his victim had gone to bed.

Bradford then snatched a camera, a laptop and cash before he fled the scene, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

But he was arrested nearby and identified by CCTV footage, which showed him entering the property on one day - and then leaving it on the next. After his arrest police found the stolen laptop in a bag that Bradford had with him.

David Gittins, prosecuting, said: “The householder returned home to find the patio doors forced and items moved within the house.

“She reported the break-in to police. He hid in the wardrobe for 13 hours till 4am, then stole a camera, a laptop and a small amount of cash.”

Mr Gittins said CCTV of the break-in had shown Bradford wearing a hood and entering the house on April 7, and leaving it on April 8.

The security cameras at his victim’s house had been installed after a previous occasion on which Bradford had burgled it, taking electrical items and jewellery valued at £20 000. The property had been the home of his foster-carer.

Bradford, of Plymouth, admitted burgling the house on three other occasions and also a string of other offences.

In June, he had been involved in a robbery in which “a girl was used as decoy or bait”, the court heard.

She had contacted a man that she had been friendly with at school and said she would like to see him.

After the victim paid for her taxi to his flat, she brought with her a group of men who were armed, masked and hooded, one of whom was Bradford.

They burst into the flat with knives and baseball bats and robbed the man of cash, his Apple laptop and his mobile phone.

Bradford also admitted using a bank card stolen from a woman’s handbag to draw cash from her bank account.

In addition, he stole a man’s bank details and used them to act as a guarantor for a loan, securing £466 to pay for 45 mobile phone top-ups.

Jason Beal, for Bradford, said his client showed ‘contrition and remorse’ and had made “full and frank” admissions.

He said: “This is terribly sad. He has been in care as a child, been fostered by people who were kind to him and now shows contrition and remorse. His ambition is to join the Army.”

Bradford was sentenced to five years in a young offenders’ institution, less 57 days spent on remand.

Judge Graham Cottle told Bradford: “It is unclear what underpinned this sudden spate of serious offending.” - Daily Mail