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Burglar caught selling neighbour's stolen goods on eBay

James Longden Image copyright Cheshire Police
Image caption James Longden tried to put his neighbour's possessions up for sale on eBay

A burglar who broke into his next-door neighbour's house was caught when his victim spotted his stolen belongings on eBay - and won an auction to buy them.

After placing a successful bid for his own watch and leather jacket, the victim arranged to meet the thief in Chester to collect them.

But instead of meeting his buyer, the burglar found police waiting for him.

James Longden, 30, was jailed for two years at Chester Magistrates' Court after admitting burglary.

Longden had stolen a laptop, jewellery and clothing from the home in Water Tower View while his neighbour was at work, the court heard.

After reporting the burglary to the police, the victim discovered a watch and leather jacket identical to those stolen up for sale on eBay.

He told police, who were able to identify the eBay account belonged to his neighbour.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The victim discovered his belongings for sale as he trawled the online auction website

Officers arrested Longden at Chester rail station when he arrived with the stolen items to complete the sale.

Most of the other stolen goods were recovered in a search of Longden's house.

The officer who led the investigation said Longden had targeted his victim in a place where he "should have felt most safe".

Det Con Nicky Edgell, of Cheshire Police, said: "Being the victim of a burglary is always traumatic.

"In this case it turned out the victim had been burgled by his next-door neighbour, making the incident even more upsetting.

"Burgling your next-door neighbour's house and agreeing via eBay to sell one of the items stolen back to him is despicable behaviour, even if Longden was unaware of the identity of the buyer."

Longden, now of of Oaklea Court in Rhyl, Wales, was also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge.

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