A burglar has been jailed for almost four years after leaving a single cigarette butt at the scene of the crime.
Anthony Bailey began a crime spree on 20 June last year, first breaking into a security box at a car repair garage in Lewes, Sussex.
The 37-year-old stole a Skoda Citigo that he crashed in Essex the following day, leaving the scene before police could arrive.
On 14 August, he then broke into a house in Fenstanton – taking a Ford Kuga and two bank cards, one of which was used at a local petrol station.
He abandoned the vehicle a few streets away but was linked to the scene by a single cigarette butt left in the footwell of the car.
Forensic analysis linked him to the theft of the Skoda, as the same DNA was found on the airbag of the crashed vehicle.
PC Andy Smith said: “This case highlights the importance of forensics and our scenes of crime officers.
“Bailey probably thought he had got away with these crimes but he was linked to the crime by the cigarette butt and thankfully has now been brought to justice.”
Bailey was arrested on 10 December in Nottingham.
He pleaded guilty to burglary, two counts of theft, aggravated vehicle taking, fraud by false representation, and driving while disqualified and without insurance.
He was sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court on 19 January to three years and eight months in prison.