A bungling burglar broke into a car and left his mobile phone with messages from his probation officer.
Hayden Blades, 25, admitted to burglary and theft from a motor vehicle following the incident in Murton, County Durham, on 19 April.
Blades, of Murton, denied the offences in a police interview but later pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday.
Around £15 was taken from the vehicle, but Blades’ phone – which had messages from his probation officer trying to get in touch with him – was left behind.
He was sentenced to a six-month community order in line with the drugs rehabilitation order by magistrates.
Seaham Neighbourhood Inspector Jo Eales said: “Blades is a prolific offender but thankfully not the brightest.
“We would like to thank the community for their continued intelligence and will continue to put him in front of the courts at every opportunity.”
Last week, another bungling criminal was quickly caught by police after being spotted wearing a stolen coat with the price tag still sticking out of the hood.
Paul Raymond, 41, pinched the £299 jacket from TK Maxx in Worcester city centre after using tinfoil to trick the security alarm on 8 March.
Eleanor Peart, prosecuting, said officers were on uniformed patrol when they saw the "known shoplifter" leaving TK Maxx "wearing a large new jacket".
Miss Peart said: "The price tag was still attached to the hood and the security cable was visible."
She added: "He said he placed tinfoil around the security tag in order to prevent it activating the security alarm."
Raymond, of Tolladine, Worcester, was arrested and the jacket was returned to the shop in a saleable condition.
In a police interview, he said he recognised the coat as a high-value item.
Raymond was hauled before Worcester Magistrates Court where he admitted the theft.
He was fined £120 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £34 and a contribution to costs of £90.