A burglar ended up being handcuffed to a fence when a couple he decided to steal from turned out to be retired police officers.
Stephen Snell, 59, set off an alarm in an outbuilding he was burgling and ended up being pinned to the ground by home owner Robert Campbell and shackled by his wife Yvonne.
She used a handcuffs the pair had kept from their days working for the police service, a court has heard.
Snell crept into the garden of the Campbell’s home in Kingskerswell, South Devon, at 4.30am in July last year.
The couple had stored some belongings in a marquee outside while building work was going on inside their house.
When Mr Campbell woke up and saw a light from a torch moving around inside the tent he went outside to investigate.
He caught Snell as he was sneaking through a wire fence and held onto him until his wife came out of the house with the handcuffs.
They made a citizen’s arrest as Snell tried to get out through metal security fencing.
Snell told jurors at Exeter Crown Court that he was out for an early morning stroll on the day of the burglary, and that he went into the garden in the belief it contained a skip.
He planned to ask the owners before taking anything but unfortunately for him, there was no skip in the garden.
Snell, who has 42 previous convictions for burglary and other offences, lived only a quarter of a mile away from the Campbells’ home.
Snell, of Carswells, Kingskerswell, was jailed for six months, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake 25 days of rehabilitation activities.
Judge Graham Cottle told him: ‘You went into the shelter in the garden with the intention of stealing tools or equipment but unknown to you an alarm activated the occupier and you were restrained until police arrived.’