British burglar caught after spending five months in French woods

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Poitiers (France) (AFP)

A British ex-soldier suspected of around 40 burglaries in central France spent five months on the run in the woods before being caught this week, police said Wednesday.

The 51-year-old suspect never strayed far from his hunting ground in the village of Surin, where he amassed a vast trove of treasures, including laptops, jewellery and pieces of silver.

He also broke into local larders, with one couple's home targeted on eight occasions, each time after they had stocked up their fridge.

He was arrested in April 2017 and charged with several burglaries but later vanished into thin air, the local La Nouvelle Republique daily reported.

On Tuesday the French authorities, who had issued a European arrest warrant for him, finally followed a trail of broken twigs through the woods to his camouflaged tent hide-out.

There they found their man living a spartan existence, with bottled gas for cooking and a stolen battery-operated television his sole entertainment.

They also recovered 200 stolen objects.