A CRIMINAL has been jailed for almost five years after a single fingerprint was discovered by police at one of the homes he targeted.

Michael Halligan of Bramham Drive in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, was accused of carrying out burglaries at two homes in the space of a week, last year.

Halligan’s first burglary, which happened at an address on Cheltenham Mount on September 15, left a homeowner waking to find a car key, £140 from his wallet, an Accurist watch and cash from a tea caddy had been stolen.

His second burglary, six days later at around 6.20am on September 21, resulted in a homeowner of a property on Ripon Road waking to find Halligan standing over him in his apartment.

During the second burglary, Halligan had rifled through the victims’ belongings in the living room before making off through the same window he had entered in.

Investigating the crimes, Crime Scene Investigators at North Yorkshire Police examined the address of the first burglary where they found a single fingerprint from a tea caddy.

CCTV footage showing a man of the same build as Halligan later showed him near the second burglary at the same time it was reported.

Appearing at York Crown Court on Tuesday, Halligan changed his plea at the start of the trial to guilty and was handed a four-and-a-half-year sentence for the two burglaries.

Commenting on the sentencing, Detective Constable Matthew Reeve of North Yorkshire Police said: “Waking up to find you have been burgled, or even worse, to find someone standing in your bedroom is one of the most frightening experiences that can happen anyone.

“This was an appalling crime committed on hardworking people for their personal possessions and money. The impact on the victims in this case has been significant, not only financially but psychologically.

“Halligan denied all knowledge and refused to take any responsibility for his crimes but thankfully, he was foiled after leaving behind a vital piece of evidence – his fingerprints.

“The sentence handed down by the judge today demonstrates the seriousness of Halligan’s offences.

“I hope the fact that he is now behind bars offers some reassurance to the victims and demonstrates to our communities North Yorkshire Police’s commitment to taking criminals like Halligan off our streets.”

What to do if you have been burgled

Ring 999 if you believe the offender is still in your house or has just run away, if not use the 101 number. You will be given a crime number to quote in an insurance claim, or if you want to contact police with any follow-up queries.

Try to preserve the crime scene for any forensic evidence that may be of use to the police. If possible, do not touch anything or allow your children or pets into the same rooms that the burglar has been in.