DOZY scrap metal crooks put their foot in it when they tried to burgle a warehouse.
Paul Mole and Brian Low broke into the vacant Sig Fixings in Clarence Street, Shieldfield, Newcastle, with the intention of stealing cabling, copper piping and scrap.
The dopey pair ran off when they realised there was nothing worth taking – but left a trail of footprints behind them in the dust.
Police were called when a witness saw them enter the derelict building in April last year and leaving moments later.
Mole, 24, and Low, 21, were caught in a car nearby, less than half an hour later, and were arrested on suspicion of burglary.
Despite wearing gloves, so as not to leave fingerprints, the pair forgot to cover their tracks with regards to their feet.
Officers were immediately able to match the trainers of Mole and Low, who both have previous convictions for stealing copper and scrap metal, to footprints left in dust in the building.
Mole, of St Anthony’s House, Walker, and Low, of Charlotte Street, Wallsend, originally pleaded not guilty to burglary at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court in December and a trial was set.
But they pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of burglary with intent to steal when they appeared back in court.
A further man, David Cooper, 22, of Walker Road, Newcastle, had initially been jointly charged with the pair, but had the case against him dismissed.
Judith Williams, prosecuting, told the court: “The property in question is a commercial warehouse, but it had been vacant for a number of months.
“The building still has some fixtures and fittings.
“It was about 5pm on April 8, 2012, when a witness saw a man run across Albert Street from the warehouse and into a bush.”
Ms Williams said the witness called the police when the man, who turned out to be Low, was joined by another man, Mole, and entered the building again.
She said it was the footprints left at the scene that snared the pair.
John Wesencraft, defending, said they had left the building empty-handed after realising there was nothing worth stealing.
He said: “Quite a few people have been in that building. What caught these two was footprints left in the dust.”
Mr Wesencraft entered a guilty plea on behalf of Mole, who wasn’t at the hearing because he was attending his father’s funeral.
Low, who bragged to a friend in the court when he was shown photos of the footprints, had a previous conviction for stealing metal from the old Co-op building, Wallsend, in January last year.
They will be sentenced later this week.