A BURGLAR caught red handed raiding a jewellery shop has been jailed.

Eagle-eyed CCTV operators noticed a break-in at Nicholas Jewellers in Colchester High Street in the early hours of Sunday morning.

They alerted the police immediately.

Officers arrived and found Phillip Spicer inside the store with his hand in a cabinet.

Boxes of goods were found scattered around the floor.

Spicer, of Monkwick Avenue, Colchester, was arrested at the scene.

He was searched in custody and officers found £270 worth of jewellery in his pockets.

The 48-year-old admitted burglary at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

He was jailed for a total of 24 weeks for the burglary and for committing the offence while subject of a community order, which was revoked by the magistrates.

Colchester Council's public safety boss Mike Lilley (Lab) praised council CCTV operators for spotting the burglary.

He said: “CCTV is one of the many ways we tackle issues such as crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

"Not only does CCTV make people feel safe, the cameras act as a deterrent and the footage captured can be critical to prosecutions.

"In this instance, our CCTV operators spotted the break-in at the jewellers, alerted the police, who were able to respond and arrest the subject.

"Through this strong partnership with Essex Police and other partners, we want to create a Better Colchester that promises a safer and crime-free town centre that people can enjoy.”

District commander for Colchester Chief Insp Rob Huddleston added: "This was a great example of partners working together in Colchester to keep the town safe and bring criminals to justice."