Burglar caught by Springwatch presenter's garden 'fox cam'

Thief caught on camera in London garden set up by Simon King

Burglar caught by Springwatch presenter's 'fox cam'

A burglar who was caught on a camera set up by BBC Springwatch presenter Simon King to film urban foxes in a London garden has been jailed.

Nigel Batton, 43, was filmed climbing over a garden fence by a camera installed by Mr King in a property in Holligbourne Road, in Herne Hill, south London.

The footage was actually being streamed on Mr King's website, simonkingwildlife.com, and was filmed by the 'Fox Family Cam'.

Mr King wrote on his website of the Fox Family Cam: "The fox family we are following with our live cameras are red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) living in the heart of England's capital city – London.

"We are incredibly lucky to have access to the home owner's remarkable records of the individual foxes that have visited her garden that date back over many years."

Batton was arrested after being identified in the footage after the incident, which occurred in January 2014.

The footage caught Batton apparently on his way to a burglary at another address on the same street, owned by Daniel McFarlane.

McFarlane interrupted Batton's burglary attempt after an intruder alarm was set off, and he fled without any stolen goods, leaving a woolly hat, black scarf and some screwdrivers.

According to the Daily Mail, Dominic Bush, prosecuting, said: "By sheer coincidence, a nearby property had some cameras set up in the back garden.

"They were there to record wildlife, night-time wildlife. The owner of the property thought there was a good chance she might have caught the burglar on the camera.

"Sure enough, it turns out that at 3.46am in the morning the cameras could see the burglar coming over her fence.

"The burglar has then gone from her garden to the neighbouring property on Hollingbourne Road, where he has left a hat and scarf."

The footage has been viewed on YouTube over 22,000 times. One user commented: "David Attenborough: Here the burglar, a shy creature mostly found in urban habitats, can be seen carefully, quietly, stalking its territory in search for that rare time an opportune moment arrives."

Another said: "I hope this footage was handed to police and this idiot gets caught!"

Which is exactly what happened.

On Monday, Batton was convicted of one count of burglary and one count of attempted robbery at Woolwich Crown Court, and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

According to the Evening Standard, Detective Constable Marie Hamilton, from Southwark police, said: "The images from the Fox family camera were brilliant and together with the forensics we have been able to ensure that Batton has been brought to justice."

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