A BUNGLING housebreaker was caught after leaving a trail of footprints in the snow leading from the scene of his crime all the way to his own front door.
John Honeyman’s victim simply followed his tracks then called police to tell them his address, a court heard.
Honeyman, 20, was arrested at his home later the same day.
He led officers to a lock-up where he had hidden the £600 mini motorbikes he had stolen.
John Barclay, prosecuting, said his victim noticed at 8am that her garden gate was lying open and a padlock on her garden shed was broken.
When she looked inside she noticed three mini motorbikes were missing.
He said: “On investigating the shed, she saw that the padlock had been snapped off and she noticed on looking inside that the three mini motorbikes were missing.
“Because of the snow which had fallen overnight she was able to follow footprints all the way to the accused’s house.
“She didn’t enter but contacted the police.
“Police arrested the accused. He took them to a lock-up garage in Livingston where the bikes were found. He fully co-operated with police and admitted that he’d gone to the house and taken the motorbikes.”
Mr Barclay said the stolen bikes were worth roughly £600 each and had been recovered.
Honeyman, of Livingston, appeared for sentence at Livingston Sheriff Court yesterday.
He earlier pleaded guilty to breaking into a garden shed in Gardners Lane, Bathgate, on December 6 last year and stealing two motorbikes.
Sheriff David Hall fined him £300 and said: “It’s quite clear from the narrative that this was a somewhat botched attempt.”
Glenn Fraser, defending, admitted Honeyman had a criminal record but claimed his offending had now “calmed down”.
He added: “He seems really sure that this is the last time he’ll be back in court.”
Mr Fraser said Honeyman had originally gone to the house to get back a mini motorbike stolen from him.
He said: “Unfortunately he didn’t just take his own one, he took three. He now realises he should have dealt with it another way.
“He should have called the police.”
Mr Fraser said that Honeyman had previously been on probation for earlier offences. He told the court: “Because of the very unusual circumstances here it could be dealt with by a financial penalty.”
Passing sentence, the sheriff told Honeyman: “I’m prepared to accept that this was a blip and your previous offending is behind you. You seem to have a reasonable income and you’re able to pay a fine.”