Catching Burglars with Remote Video at Home

Cell-phone enabled alarm system helps put intruders behind bars


BURGLARS were caught after a millionaire told police his house was being raided - while he was 1,200 miles away in Spain.

John Ellison was alerted by a call to his mobile phone from a sophisticated alarm system at home in Lancaster as he enjoyed a holiday in Malaga.

He quickly called police who rushed to his luxury house and caught two intruders redhanded as they cowered in a shower cubicle.

A third man escaped but was pictured on the businessman's closed-circuit TV system fleeing down the stairs and across the back garden as officers arrived.

Without the quick response, the gang would have had more time to crack open Mr Ellison's safe.

The state-of-the-art security system recorded the raiders' every move as they broke in through patio doors, prowled rooms and smashed down locked doors to reach the bedroom safe.

Mr Ellison said that when he received the mobile alert at night, he was terrified that his daughter Cara, 20, might have been in the house. But although she had visited home earlier that day for a swim, she had luckily decided to stay overnight at a friend's house.

Mr Ellison said: "It was horrendous, very upsetting and I'm very angry. The men looked very frightening, very awesome. It is a bit like a horror movie when you see them on the CCTV film prowling around my house." Police arrested a 46-year-old man and a 20-year-old accomplice in the bathroom. At Lancaster magistrates court, both pleaded guilty to burglary and they will be sentenced on November 5.

Officers hunting the third man have carried out a detailed forensic examination of the house.

Mr Ellison, who runs an engineering firm, said the CCTV at his detached, ivy-covered home provides clearer images than many systems in shops or streets.

A senior detective said: "It was unusual to get a call from Spain - but very effective.

"Even though Mr Ellison was 1,200 miles away, the warning system meant that we knew about the burglars within seconds." The drama follows the recent revelation that a man sitting at his computer in Dallas, Texas, foiled a robbery 4,600 miles away, in Liverpool.

He clicked on to a live camera link to a Liverpool street to see three raiders breaking into a shop.

He quickly rang Merseyside police, who grabbed the thieves as they tried to escape.