A BURGLAR found sleeping on a woman's bed when she came back from holiday told police he was in love with his victim.
Alcoholic Paul Brain stole a television, computer, two phones and a diary from his victim while she was away in France.
When Caroline Turner, who had met Brain at a recovering alcoholics group, came back she found the items missing and Brain napping on the bed.
Police called her mobile phone number and heard it ringing in his pocket.
They woke him up and he confessed his affections, saying he wanted to rekindle a romance with her.
After initially telling police she wanted nothing more to do with him Ms Turner now says she wants to give their relationship a try.
Brain, 43, of Ruckamore Road, Torquay, appeared at Exeter Crown Court for sentencing after admitting the burglary at Castle Road in June last year.
On two occasions the sentencing judge had to tell a dishevelled and talkative Brain to 'shut up' after he persisted in interrupting the hearing with questions and statements.
The judge also enquired whether the defendant was sober.
The court was told that before the burglary Brain and Ms Turner were friends who had shared 'some moments of intimacy'.
He would visit her occasionally but was not allowed in when she was not there.
When items started going missing from her address, including a door key, the pair argued and before she went on holiday the victim texted Brain to say the relationship was over.
She said the argument had frightened her.
Prosecutor Gareth Evans said when she came back from holiday the victim 'noticed her TV was missing'.
She discovered a fully-clothed Brain was in her bed which made her feel shocked and scared.
"She wanted to use the land line telephone but that was missing," said the prosecutor.
"She wanted to use her mobile phone but that was missing too so she left the property and called police from a public telephone box."
As well as the mobile phone police also found a £20 receipt in his pocket for the television which Brain had sold to Cash Generator, indicating he had visited the flat on more than one occasion.
Mitigating, David Charles said he would 'rather find somebody he knew' in his bed than a stranger.
Brain was jailed to 18 months. His victim asked that no restraining order be made.