A German thief effectively signed his own arrest warrant after photographing himself at the scene of a crime and accidentally leaving the pictures for police to discover.

Police in the northern town of Neumuenster said the youth stole a digital camera during a break-in in nearby Rendsburg and took the photos before discarding the device nearby.

"We don't know if it was down to a series of unfortunate events or whether the thief couldn't get to grips with the technology," police said in a statement Monday.

Officers found photos which could only have been taken by the perpetrator, including pictures of the 17-year-old, whom they recognized from previous offences.

"The evidence was fairly compelling so he had to admit it," said police spokesman Soenke Hinrichs.

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