Deerstalker found at scene of ram-raid fails to provide clue to burglars' identity
SHERLOCK Holmes may have solved many crimes with his deerstalker.
But the same type of hat failed to solve the mystery of a Stonehouse ram-raid in which more than £4,000 of cigarettes and alcohol was taken.
A deerstalker was left at the scene and DNA on it was traced to homeless Jamie Phelps.
But Mr Phelps has been cleared of taking part in the burglary at the Co-Op store in the High Street.
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Gloucester Crown Court heard hooded ram-raiders filled a wheelie bin full of goods before escaping in the early hours of October 29 last year.
Mr Phelps, 36, said the deerstalker did belong to him but was stolen by masked men who attacked him in Gloucester Park a week before the ram-raid.
He said three men hit him with a bar before his deerstalker fell off and the attackers picked it up laughing.
The court heard forensic scientists had found the DNA of at least two other people on the hat.
Prosecutor Nigel Fryer told the court: "It is the crown's case that it was his hat and he was wearing it on that night."
But the jury took just 20 minutes to clear Mr Phelps of the burglary.
The court heard other evidence seized at the scene did not have any forensic links to Mr Phelps.
Nearly £3,500 of cigarettes and £800 of booze was taken by the raiders and more than £2,000 of damage was done to the store.
Recorder Michael De Navarro described the ram-raid as a "professional" job.