A BURGLAR who was caught out when a store owner shared CCTV footage of a break-in on social media has been jailed for 20 months.
An estimated £21,000-plus of Eid dresses and other fashionwear was taken during a raid on Hoor Al-Ayn by Yasmin, in Limbrick, Blackburn.
Shortly afterwards, store boss Altaf Taju posted security camera footage of the burglary on Facebook, in a bid to unmask the culprit.
And Preston Crown Court heard that this led to Naveed Ali, 40, returning nearly half of the haul in a bin liner.
But the court was told that Ali, a heroin user, then disappeared to Pakistan, as part of a family bid to wean him off the drug.
Prosecutor David Clark said he was arrested at Manchester Airport on his return to the UK.
Around £11,000-worth of clothing was still left outstanding though, Mr Clark told the court.
Ali, of East Park Road, Blackburn, was sentenced after pleading guilty to burglary and failing to answer bail.
Jonathan Turner, defending, said the break-in had forced his client to confess his drug addiction to his family.
“He was sent to Pakistan to seek treatment,” added Mr Turner, who accepted the defendant had little chance to deny his actions after the CCTV footage was released.
Mr Turner said the defendant maintained that there were others already burgling the shop when he arrived on the scene with an accomplice.
“The Crown cannot say whether the burglary had begun before he arrived or not,” added Mr Turner.
Ali had also arranged to speak to the police when he flew back into this country, he said.
Jailing Ali, Judge Simon Newell said that because some of the clothing was “bespoke”, the items were virtually irreplaceable.
“You say that there was already a burglary taking place,” added Judge Newell.
“You had been taking drugs and were with others, having purchased some latex gloves from a petrol station.”
The judge said he accepted that Ali had kept out of trouble for around 10 years and had expressed a commitment to being rehabilitated.
But Judge Newell added that the break-in had caused “considerable disquiet” to the owners of the premises.
Speaking at the time, Mr Taju said that the shop, which had only been open for a short time, had to face telling customers that their dresses had disappeared, just nine days before Eid.
He added: “The outfits we make are made to order and are unlike those found in other stores.”