Web catches robbers in the act

Businessman John Ellison was able to plug in his laptop at his villa in Marbella and watch online from 2,600 kilometres away as Mark Johnson, 46, and Ian McClements, 20, broke into his home in Lancaster.

Mr Ellison, 52, had installed a sophisticated security system with 16 CCTV cameras at his 2.5 million pound mansion, and was alerted to the break-in by a mobile phone alert.

He called police and saw the pair being arrested and led away in handcuffs before opening a bottle of champagne and toasting the arresting officers.

Johnson, a serial burglar with a long criminal record, and his accomplice shouted insults and threats as they were led away to the cells after being sentenced at Lancaster Magistrates Court.

Johnson, who was late for court after going to a local pub, shouted: “I’ll be out in six. I’ll see you then,” as he was jailed for six months after admitting burglary on September 7.

He was also jailed for another six months, to run consecutive, for an unrelated assault on a woman earlier in the year.

McClements, from Morecambe, was imprisoned in a Young Offenders Institution for four months.

Mr Ellison, the owner of a computers and security firm, had logged on to his CCTV system over the internet.

He was able to watch as three masked raiders, Johnson and McClements, and a third man who has not been caught, smashed in his patio doors and went from room to room ransacking the house.

Police arrived and found the pair hiding in a bathroom. They were unable to steal any property but caused 12,000 pounds damage.

Mr Ellison will not get compensation for the damage to his house as both defendants are jobless.

Outside court Mr Ellison said: “It was wonderful to see them being marched out and their masks being pulled off. The alarm system rang my mobile and when I logged on, I saw three men hurrying through the house doing damage.

“Then I saw the police go upstairs and saw them come down with two men in handcuffs.

“I was hoping they would get three years, but I’m glad they are both off the streets. I’m delighted, it’s made my day.

“All the insults are despicable and really betrays their position in life. They are slime. I’ll be celebrating tonight — with another bottle of champagne.”