It was a case of being caught not such much red handed as white footed for one vandal in Hayle after he left a trail of white paint from the crime scene, and was arrested in bed.

Clear footprints in white paint led police officers directly from the scene of a crime to the culprit, who was found in bed at his home, his face and sheets covered in paint, with paint on his feet.

He was Aaron James Lee, aged 24, who was then living at Foundry Flats, Hayle, but now living at Heamoor, Penzance.

At Truro’s magistrates’ court he pleaded guilty to criminal damage to a Mercedes van to the value of £50, at Hayle, on February 8.

Alison May, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police had received a report in the early hours and in the Millpond car park at Hayle saw the Mercedes with its nearside covered in paint. They followed footprints leading from it across the road and to Lee’s home, forced the door open and found him in bed.

He told the officers he had been walking through the car park when he saw a pot of paint and stamped on it. It exploded and the contents went over the van.

He had previous convictions.

His solicitor Paul Simons said he had booted the paint tin stupidly and it was inevitable he would be caught. He had a drink problem but had stopped drinking now and was getting help.

Lee was fined £50 and told to pay £50 compensation and £20 victim surcharge.