Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/14/holidaymaker_foils_burglary/

Holidaymaker uses laptop to nab burglars

The long arm of the net

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 14th September 2006 13:11 GMT

A businessman on holiday in Spain was able to alert police of a raid on his home in the UK because he'd invested in an expensive net-connected CCTV system. Engineering boss John Ellison, 52, watched the attack on his Lancaster home unfold on a laptop PC he'd taken on holiday with him to Malaga, Spain.

He was automatically notified (via an SMS message) that something was amiss by the £20,000 security system, which features 16 CCTV cameras, after blaggers bludgeoned their way through a conservatory door in order to enter his £600,000 home. Ellison reacted quickly to log on, confirming his worse fears. He watched the raid in mounting anger for the next 40 minutes until police, notified by Ellison that a raid was in the progress, nabbed two of three burglars.

One of the blaggers was caught wearing a Bart Simpson mask and cowering in Ellison's bathroom, This Is London reports. Ellison estimates the burglars cost £12,000 damage to his property. "They were armed with bags full of crow bars and other tools. I was livid. I could see them smashing doors and various other things," he said.

"But it was wonderful to see them being marched out and their masks being pulled off. The security system is expensive but worth every penny. The police seemed impressed as I directed the operations from Spain."

The two men caught by police raiding Ellison's home - Mark Johnson, 46, and Ian McClements, 20 - have pleaded guilty to burglary and are due to be sentenced on 5 November. Police are still searching for the third man involved in the raid. ®