TWO burglars were caught red-handed stealing from a house in Kettering.
Mateusz Putyrski, 19, and Michael Stryjewski, 21, both of Wellington Street, burgled a home in Britannia Road last month and took a laptop, an XBox games console, a wallet, a bracelet, a mountain bike and alcohol.
But, after being spotted acting suspiciously by a member of the public and an off-duty police officer, the two were arrested.
Neighbour Richard Chalfont was mentioned in dispatches for alerting police after seeing the criminals looking into houses and walking off with stolen goods.
Laura O’Malley, prosecuting at Northampton Crown Court on Friday, said the owners and their three young children were not at home but returned to find the police already there.
She said: “Mr Chalfont took it upon himself to follow these two defendants up the road and was about to call the police when he saw a police car driving past him.
“He noticed it stop so he told the officers what he had seen.”
An off-duty officer had also seen what was going on and the two defendants were arrested.
Putyrski was on bail for damaging a car in King Street, Kettering, in December and a warrant had been issued for his arrest after he failed to report to police.
He was thought to have returned home to Poland. He said he had stolen the goods as he could not afford to buy food.
Judge Richard Bray sent Putyrski to prison for 10 months. Stryjewski was given a 40-week suspended sentence and must do 120 hours of community service.
Sgt Carl Wilson, part of the local response team in Kettering, said: “It’s very satisfying to catch a criminal red-handed.
“Although it’s never nice telling someone they’ve been burgled, it was made slightly easier as we were able to return their property and tell them we had two men in custody.”