A householder was disturbed in the middle of the night when he heard someone in his property.
But Inverness Sheriff Court was told that Ralph Reid from Alness was shocked to later discover that it was the 27-year-old son of one of his friends.
Richard Watson, who also has Inverness connections, had broken a glass door panel to gain entry and steal a watch and a cigarette lighter, valued at £250.
Mr Reid called the police and officers supported by a police dog were called to the scene in Obsdale Road.
Fiscal depute Robert Weir told Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood: “The dog immediately picked up a trail in the garden and Watson was found hiding in the undergrowth.
“He was under the influence of alcohol. A search of the area was then performed and the watch was found in the undergrowth a short distance from where Watson was found.
“The lighter was still in his pocket.” Mr Weir added.
Defence solicitor Rory Gowans said that his client had a problem with alcohol abuse and struggled to hold down a job in the offshore oil industry as a result.
“His father is a friend of the occupant of the house where he is welcome.”
Watson, who admitted theft by housebreaking and a list of previous convictions, was jailed for 16 months, backdated to August 6 by Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood.