Chelmsford Crown Court heard how the victim returned to his home in Orwell Road, Clacton, on September 7 this year to find it had been broken into.
He found various items had been stolen including £600 cash he had saved for a holiday, £100 in loose change, some video games and tools.
Fortunately, CCTV at the victim’s home caught the whole incident on camera.
The footage showed a man – later identified to be 28-year-old Liam Dixon – attempting to climb up a drainpipe of the building, which later broke and gave way.
The footage then shows Dixon returning to the flats with a ladder which he then used to access the victim’s flat and force his way in through a window.
The CCTV also captured Dixon jumping out of the window with a yellow bag containing his ill-gotten gains.
In an attempt to identify the at the time unknown burglar, Essex Police released images of the suspect on our social media channels.
And, thanks to an overwhelming response from Clacton residents who recognised Dixon he was promptly arrested and charged.
Dixon of Coopers Lane, Clacton, pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday 2 December and he was jailed for 28 months.
Detective Constable Richard English said: “In policing we have never been in any doubt about the value of our communities in helping us to prevent and detect crime.
“This is a classic case of the public supporting to help catch a bad guy.
“Dixon had absolutely no thought for anyone other than himself when he broke into the home of his honest and hard-working victim and stole money they had put aside for a holiday.
“Unfortunately for Dixon – but fortunately for the victim and Essex Police – he wasn’t very bright and not only were his thieving actions all caught on camera but he was promptly identified by residents in the town where he lives.
“Let’s hope he spends his time behind bars reflecting on what he has done and considering an alternative career that doesn’t involve him breaking the law.
“We would like to thank the members of the public who came forward to identify Dixon and help us put him behind bars.”
We are continuing to do all we can to catch those responsible for committing burglaries but also to help people to keep their homes safe, particularly as the shops, restaurants and pubs are now back open.