Criminal caught by taking photo of stolen items in hand

Image caption, Stephen Taylor was jailed for 10 months at Minshull Street Crown Court

A man who was caught handling stolen goods when he took a photo of stolen watches in his hand has been jailed.

Stephen Taylor, 29, of Rydal Walk, Stalybridge in Greater Manchester, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods at an earlier hearing.

When he was arrested, officers found the photograph on his mobile phone and sent it to be analysed.

A fingerprint specialist enhanced it and found it matched Taylor's palm print, police said.

Taylor was sentenced to 10 months in prison at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court.

Taylor's mobile phone had a high quality camera, police said.

Forensics officers enhanced the pictures on his sim card so the fingerprint specialist could zoom in on the ridge details of the hand holding the watches.

Image caption, The watches were stolen during a robbery in Stalybridge in April

It was this detail that pointed to Taylor.

It is the first time Greater Manchester Police have been able to match fingerprint detail of a suspect to an image taken on a mobile phone in such a way, a spokesman said.

The rare watches were stolen during a robbery in Mottram Old Road, Stalybridge, in the early hours of 12 April, police said.

A 17-year-old girl was also assaulted in the incident.

Det Con Pete Slater said: "While there is absolutely no evidence to suggest Taylor was involved in the robbery, clearly he has at some point been in possession of the stolen items, which in itself is still a serious offence.

"Today's sentence proves we will do all we can to secure convictions against anyone involved in criminality and unfortunately for Taylor he has played a very important role in his own downfall."

Kevin Kershaw, head of Forensic Identification Services, added: "This is an excellent example of how investigators and operational support specialists can find innovative solutions to combating crime in Greater Manchester."

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