A BURGLAR was swiftly arrested after the owner of the pub he raided carried out his own investigation.

Penrith man Andrew Hall, 37, was identified as the guilty man so quickly because he made the mistake of raiding a pub equipped with CCTV cameras which was right next to a coffee-cart where he was a regular customer, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

The defendant, formerly of Prince Charles Close, Penrith, admitted burglary.

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson outlined how the burglary at the Robin Hood pub in King Street, Penrith, was discovered on the morning of December3 last year. Among the items that were missing were bottles of spirits worth £132, including gin and vodka.

The burglar also stole £90 which was stored in a tin and a jar at the pub, as well as a grey plastic bin.

Two front windows at the pub were smashed, as was one inside the pub.

"The manager checked the CCTV from inside the pub alongside the owner Craig Creegan," said Mr Rogerson.

"He began making enquiries about the still photograph which he had seized [of the burglar] from the CCTV system and he also went out on to the street where there is as coffee cart run by Karen Radcliffe.

"He showed her the photographs and she immediately identified the person as Mr Andrew Hall, who was a regular customer at the coffee cart.

"She had known him for three years."

That very morning, said Mr Rogerson, Hall had bought hot chocolate from her and she had mentioned the burglary to him at 9am as she served him.

"He told her that he did silly stuff while he was on valium but it wasn't him," said the prosecutor.

Hall was also identified by a customer who was in the pub the day after the raid.

A person was seen earlier that morning with the stolen plastic bin, which was clanking as he carried it along the street.

The court heard that Mr Creegan had to close the pub for a day while he cleared away the damage caused in the burglary.

Mr Rogerson said the defendant had 19 previous non-dwelling burglaries on his criminal record, and three previous dwelling house burglaries. The total loss to the Robin Hood pub business from the December raid - including lost takings - was £2,500.

David Wales, for Hall, said the defendant had been released from a previous jail term but given no help with accommodation.

He felt he had no other option than to offend and thus get sent back to prison. "He's not consumed alcohol for a number of years," said the lawyer.

But Hall was battling an addiction to valium, and he had planned to sell the alcohol he stole to pay for the pills.

Mr Wales added: "For 20 years, he's been committing offences, going to prison, and then being released without assistance for housing, and so committing more offences to go back to prison. "There seems to be very little your Honour can do," the lawyer told Judge Peter Davies.

The judge commented: "I can't find him a house."

Judge Davies jailed Hall for nine months.