THE devastated victims of a break and enter were surprised when an alleged thief returned to negotiate for the return of a mobile phone dropped at the scene of the crime.
A 32-year-old man is alleged to have entered a house in Wambiana Street, Nyngan, on Christmas Eve when the occupants left to do some last-minute shopping.
Police allege the man gained entry through a rear door and took games and toys from children's bedrooms.
The alleged thief was disturbed when the young family returned home.
He is alleged to have fled from the house, dropping his mobile phone and a set of kitchen scales.
Police were called, but before officers could respond the man allegedly returned to the house offering to swap stolen property for the phone.
The man ran off when police arrived.
He was found hiding under a bed in a nearby house.
He was arrested and charged with break, enter and steal.
Refused bail, the man spent Christmas in custody pending a future court appearance.