A PENSIONER who woke to find a burglar at the foot of his bed helped police catch the criminal by noting down the getaway car’s registration number.

Thief Philip Bates got into the 75-year-old man’s bungalow in Bradshaw in the early hours of May 17, Bolton Crown Court heard.

The pensioner woke at 5.30am to find Bates standing in his bedroom holding the trousers he had left on his bed post.

Bates left the house but was followed and confronted by the elderly man outside.

The burglar claimed he had not been in the house and walked to a parked Peugeot car, Gavin Howie, prosecuting, told the court.

But the victim, spotting his trousers inside the vehicle, opened the car door and took them back, then quickly got a pen and paper from the house and wrote down the car’s registration number.

Police spotted the Peugeot, which belonged to Bates’ partner, parked on Kentmere Road, Breightmet, 10 minutes later.

Bates, wearing a motorbike helmet, was at a nearby cashpoint with the pensioner’s debit card, the court was told.

He claimed he had found the card and had it with him for safe keeping.

The court heard the pensioner had a stoical attitude to the crime and in a statement read out in court, he said: “I’m just annoyed more than anything. This man had no right to come into my house and steal my things.”

Recorder Mukhtar Hussain QC was told that Bates has two previous convictions for burgalry and was on licence when he targeted his latest victim’s home.

Bates, aged 36, of Woodland Close, Breightmet, pleaded guilty to burgling the pensioner’s home.

Kimberley Morton, defending, said Bates had a history of drug misuse and had been taking valium.

She said: “He recalls little about the events of that night.

“He was extremely embarrassed and remorseful when he learned the age of the complainant in this case.”

Bates was sentenced to three years and four months in prison and ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.