A man who smashed his way into a shop and stole cigarettes was caught after dropping his hat at the crime scene.

George Sharp, 27, broke into McColls, in High Street, St Neots, through a glass door in the early hours of Friday, 7 December. He stole more than £1500 worth of cigarettes and tobacco before fleeing, but dropped his beanie hat.

Forensic officers attended the shop the following day and managed to pull Sharp’s DNA from the hat.

Sharp, of Maule Close, Eynesbury, appeared at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court on Monday (4 February) after pleading guilty to burglary. He was handed a year-long community order, meaning he is required complete 120 hours’ unpaid work over the next 12 months, and must also pay £300 compensation.

PC Dan Harper said: “Burglary can have lasting effects on businesses and victims. It is a force priority and we will do all we can to put perpetrators before the courts.”