Burglar Jason Medlicott must have thought it was easy pickings when he spotted a laptop in a student room.

Unfortunately, for the 35-year-old, the room was rigged with hidden cameras as part of a police sting – Operation Breaker – to catch thieves in the act.

Medlicott is now behind bars for the next two years and nine months.

And the Government is rolling out funding for the honey-trap rooms after applauding their success.

The thief, from Croft Road, Marston, was filmed creeping into the trap at Oxford Brookes University’s Clive Booth Halls, in Marston.

The ground-floor room, which was kitted out with tempting items including a laptop, phone and jewellery, was set up just ten days before Medlicott struck.

The persistent offender, who was automatically jailed at Oxford Crown Court under the ‘three strikes’ rule, targeted the flat in January.

So far, he has been the only burglar to have broken into the room.

Sgt Andy Thompson, of Oxford’s burglary team, said burglaries in the city are set for a 14.3 per cent drop for the year ending April 1, bringing numbers to “an all-time low”.

He added: “This is a brilliant tactic to help identify and gather evidence against burglars.

“In interview, Medlicott basically said it was nothing to do with him, but when he was shown the tape he said words to the effect of ‘what can I say? I’m bang to rights’.

“It was a brilliant result and after his arrest there was a massive reduction in burglaries in that area.”

Medlicott’s capture is seen as a success for the Home Office’s Securing Homes programme, which recently saw £2m distributed to 16 police forces to buy technology to improve burglary detection.

Sgt Thompson said trap rooms would continue to be used in the city.

Det Supt Barry Halliday said: “This is just one example of how this type of offence is now being investigated.

“The use of technology, supported by methodical, detailed investigations, not only secures evidence, but often leads to other offences and those who benefit from burglary being detected and brought to justice.”

Acting Thames Valley Assistant Chief Constable Andy Taylor said: “Operation Breaker highlights the significant impact this type of activity is having.”

The force has also increased the number of traffic cameras in the area, linked to its automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system.

Announcing the new funding, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said: “This new equipment will not only help police catch criminals, it will help prevent crime.

“Once burglars realise the home they’re breaking into might be covered by hidden cameras they might think twice.”

Burglaries in Oxford fell by 31 per cent from December to February 2009/2010 when there were 153 break-ins – compared to 106 in 2008/2009.