A vigilant taxi firm has been praised for helping to bring a burglar to justice – after he booked a cab to leave the scene.
Sneak-in raider Jason Taylor crept into a Sunderland home in the dead of night while the occupants were asleep upstairs.
After forcing entry to the city centre address, Taylor swiped various items including an electric saw, a Blu-Ray player and a hover-board.
Brazenly stashing the items in his rucksack and carrying the hover-board under his arm, the 32-year-old then phoned Station Taxis and booked a cab to take him home.
But Taylor’s deceit was soon laid bare after police scoured CCTV footage and worked with the taxi company to confirm the identity of their care-free customer.
Sure enough, the phone used was traced to Taylor – and when police turned up at his door they located some of the stolen items inside.
Taylor, of Hume Street, Sunderland, admitted burglary and was last week jailed for nearly two-and-a-half years.
Detective Constable Harry Atanasov, who led the investigation, said: “This was a fantastic outcome as we worked with Station Taxis to irrefutably prove Taylor was responsible for the burglary.
“He showed a total disregard for his victims and even had the audacity to phone a taxi to transport him and his loot home.
“We will continue to do all we can to bring burglars to justice.”
Sergeant Maria Ord, part of the city centre neighbourhood team, added: “This is an outstanding example of working with local businesses to ensure our city remains a safe place to live and work.
“We have a fantastic relationship with our taxi firms and deliver regular vulnerability training for drivers on how best to identify and safeguard vulnerable people in our night-time economy.
“They play a hugely important role in helping us to protect the public – and also ensuring criminals are swiftly identified and located, as in this case.”
Station Taxis director Jimmy Usher said the firm were “pleased” to have been able to assist.
He said: “We will continue to work closely with partners to make our city a safer place.
“Our drivers and staff are embedded into the fabric of our local community and have a unique perspective of what is happening in the city. They often come across difficult situations of concern, which is why the safeguarding training has been invaluable for us.”
Taylor was sentenced to 936 days imprisonment after appearing at Newcastle Crown Court on June 14.