A BURGLAR short of cash was caught in a police “sting”.

Stephen Pemberton went into a garden looking for scrap metal and smashed a window to steal a central heating boiler from the empty house.

But the housing trust home was on loan to the police to trap burglars and when he stole the boiler he was sprayed with Smartwater. The raid was also filmed on hidden cameras.

The boiler and copper piping he also took were worth £800. He was later arrested. Pemberton, aged 33, admitted smashing the window at the property in Leigh, causing £122 of damage and selling the stolen property for £250. He said he had been short of cash. The police had set up the trap “because of the prevalence of this type of burglary”, said Lianne Birkett, prosecuting.

Pemberton, of Heddles Court, Leigh, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to burglary on January 2 this year.

He was given eight months imprisonment but suspended it for two years.