Phone thief traced by fingerprints

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A ST Helens man who stole a mobile phone from a victim with special needs has been remanded in custody.

James Spencer, 32, admitted stealing a mobile phone from a vulnerable neighbour while on bail - but denied rummaging around his flat and stealing food.

St Helens Magistrates’ Court heard how the burglary occurred at an assisted care complex in Pennine Close, Parr, in the early hours of July 4 this year.

Lionel Cope, prosecuting, said the victim heard a strange noise in the middle of the night but only when he woke up the next morning did he realise that the downstairs living room window had been broken into.

He claimed that there were drill marks in the frame of the window and that food had been stolen, along with a mobile phone.

Spencer, also of Pennine Close, was tracked down by police via matching fingerprints on the window.

In interview, he initially made no reply, before claiming that the fingerprints could have been left when he was previously invited into the flat.

Frank Roe, defending Spencer, said his client accepted taking the mobile phone, but claimed he had only picked it up from the windowsill after the window was left ajar.

As the two accounts of the incident differ so markedly, Spencer was committed for sentence at Liverpool Crown Court on November 5.

He was remanded in custody until that date.