A STARTLED burglar who told his victim that he was in her house looking for a phone charger has been locked up.

Phillip Campbell Morrison, of St Swithuns Road in Bourne-mouth, blurted: “I need a charger for my phone” when confronted by a homeowner mid-way through a burglary.

But a neighbour had overheard the 20-year-old and an acc-omplice discussing their plans and contacted police officers, who promptly arrived and arrested him.

Morrison admitted the charge at Bournemouth Crown Court, where he was sentenced to 16 months in a young offender institution on Thursday.

Tom Wright, prosecuting, said the defendant’s co-conspirator, who was the first into the house in Corporation Road on April 13 this year, has not been caught.

“A neighbour saw two men loitering in the street outside,” he said.

“She overheard a conversation between them in which the second man indicated to this defendant that he had seen the lady living at this address leaving, and that she sometimes left the back window open.”

The neighbour then went to the back of her house, where she observed the second man climbing in through the kitchen window.

Morrison later followed him, but was caught when the homeowner – who was inside the property at the time – heard them making a noise.

Although his accomplice fled, the defendant was caught red-handed.

“He tried to come up with an explanation for his presence,” Mr Wright said.

Officers found an iPad in Morrison’s rucksack, which had been stolen from the house.

Mitigating, Nick Robinson said: “This is someone who committed an offence purely because he was homeless and in the wrong crowd.

“He allowed himself to be led astray.”

He said Morrison, who has a stutter, had been targeted by other inmates while in custody.

“He misuses cannabis,” Mr Robinson said.

“He has used his time in custody to focus his mind on the potential he has and the need to channel that into more constructive uses.”

Judge John Harrow said Morrison is “not unintelligent”, adding the victim must have been “disturbed and frightened” after confronting him.