Police catch greedy burglar after he tucks into trifle during break-in – and leaves DNA on empty pot


Sweet-toothed burglar Ryan Meredith was caught after snacking on a stolen dessert and throwing away the container – leaving vital DNA evidence behind.

Police were able to link the 26-year-old to the burglary at a house in Park Hall Road, Weston Coyney.

It had seen Meredith and his accomplice take a purse, a mobile phone and gardening equipment – along with the incriminating trifles – while the female occupant was at home.

Now Meredith is starting a three-year prison sentence after admitting to a non-dwelling house burglary, two thefts and perverting the course of justice.

The burglary took place on the afternoon of October 9. The homeowner had gone upstairs after unpacking her shopping and putting the three trifles in the fridge in her garage.

Prosecutor Fiona Cortese told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court: “While upstairs she heard the side door open. She returned downstairs and saw the door was still open, and she could see that the door to the fridge in the garage was open, as were doors to the tool cupboard.

“When she went outside she could hear voices coming from the other side of tall conifers that border her home. She called the police.

“Stolen from her address were her purse and contents, a mobile telephone, a petrol strimmer, hedge cutters, two items of clothing and the three trifles.”

A police dog-handler discovered the perpetrators near Park Hall Country Park. On the way they found the strimmer, hedge cutter and the clothes, along with the trifles.

Ms Cortese added: “One of the pots had been opened and had creases in it as it had been squeezed. Those creases were swabbed by a forensic investigator, analysed, and this defendant’s DNA was found in those creases.”

The burglars were tracked heading towards Park Hall Country Park

The victim said the burglary had left her ‘frightened, shocked and physically sick’. She was scared of being in the house on her own.

The dad-of-three, of Berdmore Street, Fenton, pleaded guilty to the burglary on the basis that he thought it would just involve the garage and not the house itself, and that he did not know the property would be occupied. He also said he never entered the property himself.

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The first theft took place at a Sainsbury’s store, in Llandudno, on September 15 when Meredith stole washing detergent and food worth £63.80. On November 2 Meredith stole confectionery worth £49.98 from B&M, in Longton. He was chased to a nearby bookies by security staff and subsequently arrested by police.

The court heard Meredith had 31 convictions for 49 offences, including three for dwelling house burglary, seven for non-dwelling house burglary and six for theft.

B&M in Longton
B&M in Longton

Stuart Muldoon, mitigating, said Meredith’s last conviction for burgling a house dated back to 2011. His previous house burglaries had involved unoccupied properties.

Mr Muldoon added: “He is not someone who has habitually entered occupied houses, and his response when confronted about it now is that he feels like a scumbag, and that’s not how people should behave.

“At the time of the offence he was homeless, he was sofa surfing. He was taking monkey dust and perhaps because of that he was acting in a way in which he wouldn’t ordinarily do.

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“His position now is significantly different. He has been remanded in custody since November, and in the last few weeks his time has been far more onerous, as the prisons have been in lockdown. This has perhaps brought home the reality of how he was behaving.”

Judge Paul Glenn handed Meredith a two-and-a-half year sentence for the burglary, another six months for perverting the course of justice, and two months concurrent for each of the thefts.

Judge Glenn told Meredith: “With the burglary there was a very obvious potential for confrontation.

“The police recovered some of the items nearby, and the partially-eaten trifle. Your greed is the reason why you ended up being arrested.

“It was a very upsetting experience for that lady. She felt sick in the aftermath.”





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