A BURGLAR who bored a hole into the premises of a Welshpool tool hire firm to steal more than £2,000 worth of equipment has been jailed for 11 months.

Ashley Smith, 24, was snared by police after the neckerchief he had wrapped around his face while carrying out the raid on Phils Tools Hire on the Severn Road Industrial Estate slipped to reveal his face.

CCTV footage at the firm captured Smith and an accomplice executing the burglary more than three years ago with one of the men climbing through the hole and selecting tools which were passed on to the second man standing outside.

Prosecutor Oliver King told Mold Crown Court that the means of entry was “unusual” as the burglars appeared to have “knocked out” the hole in the brickwork using specialist tools.

A police officer connected Smith with the description of the suspect when he was investigating "an unrelated matter".

Proprietor Phil Nickless was left out of pocket as the tools taken from his business worth £2,063 were never recovered and he needed to pay £500 to repair the damage done to the wall.

Smith had been living in Mid Wales with an ex-partner at the time he committed the offence, but he was now resident on Merseyside and his barrister Myles Wilson said he had no reason to return to Wales.

“He has a stable personal life and he has been working as a joiner and a car valeter. It is three-and-a-half years since he committed this offence and he has not been convicted of anything since,” said his counsel.

But Judge Rhys Rowlands noted the burglary had involved a “degree of planning” and added: “The damage was considerable to a small business owned by a gentleman on the verge of retiring."

The judge also admonished Smith for evading justice for the raid which was carried out back on January 3, 2016. Police eventually caught up with Smith, of Nunsford Close, Bootle, Merseyside in March this year and he was bailed to attend court, but he failed to appear.

After pleading guilty to burglary at a pre-trial hearing on May 31 he failed to attend probation appointments and then failed to appear in court on Monday this week.

“You have shown no interest in obeying court orders,” said Judge Rowlands who added a month to his sentence (10 + 1) for a failing to surrender charge.