South Shields burglar trapped by mobile phone app

Detectives were led directly to a hapless burglar's door by a phone application on a mobile he had stolen.

Monday, 13th June 2016, 1:48 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 2:53 pm
Burglar Steven Bourke was sentenced to jail after being caught by a mobile phone app

The phone was among a haul worth £6,000 which raider Steven Bourke, aka Gardner, took from a family home in South Shields.- including electrical goods, personal items

and a Peugeot car.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the raid took place at January 2 while the owners were in bed.

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Detectives were led straight to the 34-year-old burglar, and where the stolen property was hoarded, when they used the online Apple company's application Find My Phone to trace the mobile he had taken.

Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told the court: "One of the stolen items, an Iphone 5, had the ability to be found, the Find My Phone application was activated and the phone was giving off a signal.

"Police were able to look on an Apple Map at Bowman Place. They went to that house and there they found the items that had been stolen from the burglary, to the value of £6,420."

Bourke, of Bowman Place, South Shields, admitted burglary.

Judge Deborah Sherwin jailed him for two years and seven months.

The judge told him: "It was the IPhone that led to the property being tracked down and, I am told, all the property has been returned.

"This was a serious matter because it was a night-time burglary while the occupants were at home.

"It was fortunate they weren't disturbed as a result of it and there was no confrontation or anything like that."

The court heard Bourke has previous convictions and already had two house burglaries on his record.

Graeme Cook, defending, said Bourke had not deliberately targeted the house but had gone in when he realised the door was unlocked.

Mr Cook said Bourke has plans to start his own business when he is released from custody and has been "industrious" in custody by completing courses.