A BURGLAR who struck at two houses in Craven Arms was caught after one of the victims later spotted him in a local cafe, a court heard.

Karel Macha, 31, was arrested two weeks after he broke into the properties in the early hours while the occupants were asleep.

Police were able to link him to the break-ins in Norton View from palm prints found on the bannister at one of the houses in July this year.

At Shrewsbury Crown Court last week Macha was jailed for two years after admitting two charges of burglary.

Judge Jonathan Gosling said the defendant had carried out the burglaries in the dead of night and either didn’t check, or didn’t care, whether there were occupants in the houses.

"In fact there was a family in the second house and a man in the first and both were awakened, disturbed and traumatised," he said.

The court heard that a couple and their two young children were disturbed at one of the houses.

Mr Hunter Gray, prosecuting, said they found curtains had been moved and a door to an internal garage was open and when the light was switched on a man was seen crouching down.

"He said 'sorry mate' in an eastern European accent before he ran out of the premises. Nothing had been taken," he said.

A short time earlier at around 12.30am a neighbour had been woken by a noise in his house and when he went to investigate he could see his living room window was open.

"He noticed £40 cash that was in his wallet had been taken and it was clear drawers had been opened and searched," said Mr Gray.

Police were notified but it was a fortnight later when one of the victims saw the defendant and recognised him.

Mr Gray said that Macha was in the Station Cafe in Shrewsbury Road, close to where he was living, and the police were alerted and he was arrested.

The court heard that Macha worked in the Craven Arms area and had been drinking the night before the burglaries on July 15 this year.

Mrs Debra White, for Macha, said her client had consumed a large quantity of alcohol and could not remember what he had done.

She said he had no previous convictions and had been working in the country for six years.

“He apologises for his actions and he cannot account for them,” she said.