It wasn't me - it was the wind

A THIEF who claimed his DNA could have been blown 80 miles to the scene of his crime is today facing the prospect of prison.Joe James had denied stealing antique weapons valued at around £2,000 during a burglary at Landguard Fort in Felixstowe.

A THIEF who claimed his DNA could have been blown 80 miles to the scene of his crime is today facing the prospect of prison.

Joe James had denied stealing antique weapons valued at around £2,000 during a burglary at Landguard Fort in Felixstowe.

The 22-year-old claimed during his defence that a cigarette butt with his DNA on might have ended up at the fort because the wind had carried it from his home in Watford.

Although he said he had a real explanation for how the fag end had got inside the fort, he also offered the option that it could have been placed there by some one with a grudge against him.

Yesterday a jury at Ipswich Crown Court convicted James for the burglary in January, for which he had pleaded not guilty.

Among the items stolen in the raid were a Bren gun, a Sten gun, a Lee Enfield rifle, a sword and two Mills bomb grenades.

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James also called a defence witness, Sarah Tassle, to provide him with an alibi for the weekend of January 18 and 19.

Miss Tassle, 20, had worked in the Rat and Parrot pub in Watford and told the court James was a regular at the venue on Friday and Saturday nights.

However when cross-examined by prosecutor Charles Myatt about whether James had been there that weekend she could not recall for sure but said she did not remember him not being there.

Earlier in the trial the jury heard the break-in was discovered by the fort's operations manager and it appeared the burglar or burglars had used a contractor's fencing panel to climb over a high outer wall into the fort.

The same panel had then apparently been pulled up and used to gain access to a flat roof inside the fort.

Mr Myatt said the DNA profile was obtained from a cigarette end found outside the window the intruder had used to gain access to the building. The DNA profile matched that of James.

Mr Myatt said that after his arrest James said he had been to Felixstowe a year previously and may have parked his car in the car park at the fort.

After James' conviction Judge David Goodin adjourned the case for sentencing reports and warned him he was almost certain to face jail.

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