DNA on a cigarette butt discovered at the scene of a burglary led police to the culprit, a court has heard.

Sam Hovey, 25, of Tenby Court, Monkton, Pembroke, pleaded guilty to burglary when he appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on Tuesday.

The court heard that he entered a Crundale workshop and shipping container belonging to a welder on February 2 as a trespasser and stole a welder and a ruck sack.

Hovey initially denied any involvement and told police that he had bought the stolen items in good faith, but his DNA was found on a cigarette butt recovered from the scene.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, said: “He admitted he was the burglar and not just the handler of stolen goods.”

A total of £330 worth of damage was caused to locks and a window during the incident, and the bench heard that Hovey had a number of previous convictions.

Mike Kelleher, defending, told magistrates that Hovey had been experiencing a difficult time when the offence took place, as he had been struggling to cope with the death of his grandmother, who had brought him up.

He added that Hovey thought the building looked a ‘little run down’ and decided to have a look and take property from inside.

The items taken were later returned to their rightful owner.

The court heard that Hovey, who acts as a carer for his mother and works as an engineer on oil refinery shut-downs, had been a scrap dealer and believed that the property was abandoned.

Magistrates imposed a community order with 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered him to pay £330 compensation plus £170 in costs and charges.