“A bungling burglar who set fire to a home after losing his mobile left behind key evidence of his name, address and what he planned to steal,” Flora Thompson reports for The Argus. “Tony Bytheway, 40, was high on drugs when he stole thousands of pounds worth of jewelry, watches and laptops as residents were on holiday. After realizing he had lost his phone during the raid, he set three fires in the hope of destroying evidence before making off in the owner’s Subaru Impreza. The McCormack family returned to find their Findon home destroyed and two family pets dead.”

“They also discovered an iPhone with the culprit’s name and address, along with details of what he planned to loot, where it was being kept and his accomplices,” Thompson reports. “The blaze caused £70,000 worth of damage and was started with the family’s dogs and birds inside, a court heard. Two of the parrots later died as a result of their injuries. Bytheway, of Glencathara Road, Bognor, was jailed for seven years and eight for burglary and arson where there was a risk to human life. He had a string of previous convictions, including burglary dating back to the early 1990s, and had spent time in prison.”

“His accomplice Matthew Hardy, 36, of Merchant Street, Bognor, was jailed for 12 months and 28 days for handling stolen goods and possession of cocaine. Tony’s ex-wife Deborah Bytheway, 45, of Ashbee Gardens, Bognor, was handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, for conspiracy to commit burglary after playing what the judge called a ‘limited’ role in driving him to the scene,” Thompson reports. “His former partner Natasha Cardwell, formerly of Bognor and now of Oakfields Close, Newbury, was handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, for handling stolen goods and possession of a small amount of cannabis. All four pleaded guilty.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yet another band of winners.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Jamie & Georgie” for the heads up.]