A pair of burglars were caught after leaving distinctive footprints in red wine which they spilled during a raid on a rugby club.

Kieran Mitchell and Nathan Addicott smashed security grilles and stole charity collection boxes and tills during raids at Torrington Rugby Club and North Molton Sports Centre.

They smashed their way into both buildings and caused thousands of pounds of damage to doors, windows and a safe which they tried and failed to open.

Police arrested them after spotting the car, with a different set of stolen plates, in South Molton exactly a week later. They had masks, gloves and tools which they had used in the two raids.

They had left a trail of forensic clues including the wine stain footprints, DNA on a window, and CCTV images which showed them inside and outside the buildings.

Nathan Addicott.Nathan Addicott.

Mitchell, aged 33, of Moorland Road, Taunton, and Addicott, aged 29, of Etsome Terrace, Somerton, and formerly of Risemoor Road, Bridgwater, admitted two counts of burglary, theft of two sets of number plates and going equipped for theft.

Mitchell was jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid community work and six days of rehabilitation activities with a six month drug rehabilitation order by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court.

Addicott was jailed for a year and ten months by Judge David Evans last month.

Judge Johnson told Mitchell: “There was substantial damage and a great deal of inconvenience to the users. These are important facilities in remote rural areas.”

Christine Hart, prosecuting, said Torrington RFC and North Molton Sports Centre are both community run clubs which suffered loss and damage running into thousands of pounds.

Both were broken into between 3 and 4am on Sunday March 11 last year. Windows, doors and security grilles were smashed and a failed attempt made to open a safe in the cellar at North Molton.

Tills worth £1,500 were taken from each club along with the cash floats inside them and charity collection boxes from the bars. The damage at North Molton alone was around £3,000.

Addicott was arrested a week later after returning to Devon, where he stole a number plate to put on Mitchell’s silver BMW. He was in his Ford Ranger with the tools used in the earlier raids.

Nick Lewin, defending, said the offences all happened over a short time more than a year ago and Mitchell sought help for his drug problem after his arrest.

He is now working well with the drug service in Taunton, who have recommended him for a treatment order.