Chicken thief caught by iPhone app

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CEXEFE iPhone 4/4S screen showing notifications for various social media apps: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ also for app store, ma

A burglar who stole live chickens and a cage of canaries during a drink-fuelled crime spree has been jailed for two years.

Aubrey Hope, 24, decided to "make money for himself" after drowning his sorrows with a bottle of whiskey, having just lost his job, Kent Police said.

But he was caught carrying the live chickens after police tracked him using a mobile app which had been downloaded on to an iPhone he had also stolen.

A force spokesman said Hope's mini crime-wave began overnight on August 26 when he targeted a shed at the back of a property in Marian Avenue, Minster.

"Spying a number of chickens with what he described in interview as having "afro haircuts", he broke into the pen and stole three of the birds," he said.

"Intending to continue burgling, he left the chickens in a wheelie bin to collect after his campaign," the spokesman added.

Hope also stole three BMX bikes, a mountain bike and a screwdriver from another property, taking his haul back to his home in Lapwing Close, Minster, police said.

He then targeted an aviary in a back garden and, using the screwdriver he had stolen, he broke in and stole a cage containing canaries, the spokesman continued.

"This was added to his hoard at Lapwing Close as he set off for his last and final burglary," he said.

Hope's final burglary was at a property in Lupin Court at 3.30am on August 27 where, upon noticing the front door ajar, he stole a PlayStation 3, an iPhone, an iPad, a wallet, cash, a watch, a bracelet and sunglasses, while a couple and their two-year-old son were asleep upstairs, police said.

Hope also planned to steal the family's Alpha Romeo GT parked in the driveway but accelerated too quickly and collided with a neighbour's VW Polo, waking the householders up, the spokesman added.

Police used a mobile phone tracking app to locate the iPhone stolen from Lupin Court.

The signal led them to Lapwing Close and just as officers were about to enter the property, Hope arrived, together with a bag containing the stolen chickens from the Marian Avenue break in.

Hope admitted burglary and asked for three further burglaries to be taken into consideration when he was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court yesterday.

Detective Constable Iain Joyce said: "This was a sorry tale in which Hope, having just lost his job, made a terrible decision that I'm sure will haunt him for the rest of his life.

"There's no doubt alcohol played a part in his decision-making that night, but it was no excuse and will be of little comfort to those victims that he targeted that night.

"We were able to use a mobile tracking app to locate where Hope had stashed the stolen items and arrest him nearby with further stolen items from a previous break."

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