AN intruder has admitted squatting at a woman's house near Newton Abbot after getting in through her cat flap.

Spencer Bamping pleaded guilty to the recently created offence of criminal squatting when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court.

The 40-year-old also admitted causing criminal damage to owner Nicola Brighton's home in Oliver Place, Heathfield, by damaging her cat flap and a door panel.

Bamping, of Veitch Place, Newton Abbot, pleaded guilty to squatting in a residential building between October 17 and 21 last year and Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports.

He said: 'According to the explanation in the defence statement he went there to sleep and must have damaged the cat flap to get in. Some loss must have been suffered by the house holder.

'When the case is sentenced he should make sure he brings to court evidence of his ability to pay compensation to the lady whose house was damaged. All options including custody will remain open.'

Mr James Taghdissian, prosecuting, said inquiries will be made to establish the full cost of the damage to the house before the next hearing so a claim for compensation could be considered.

Miss Kelly Scrivener, mitigating, said a probation report would be helpful because Bamping now has a job as a trainee scaffolder and a stable address. She said he may be suitable to perform unpaid community work as an alternative to custody.

Squatting in private homes was made illegal under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act which was passed in 2012 but only came into force in full last year.