Jeremy Cater, 56, broke into Mountain Warehouse in Bridge Street, Peterborough, on Thursday, June 25.
A member of the public reported that at about 8am they saw a man emerging from an old vent at the rear of the store which had been smashed in.
CCTV footage from a nearby construction site showed Cater forcing entry at about 5.30am using a pole as a lever. He then returned at 8am to take more boxes of shoes and boots.
Later that day Cater was seen by the same CCTV operator in the city centre who had viewed the construction site footage. They alerted police and he was arrested.
In interview he said that he “did not pre-plan the job, temptation just took over.”
Cater, of Wake Road, Fengate, pleaded guilty to burglary the following day, June 26, at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court.
He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, 120 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £200 in compensation.
DC Tessa Munro said: “Thank you to the member of the public who called this in, their quick thinking allowed us to work with the CCTV operators and have Cater in custody before lunch time.”