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A Corpach man was given 109 hours of unpaid work at Fort William Sheriff Court after admitting to an amended charge of theft.
Connor McCulloch, 22, of 35 Lady Margaret Drive, Corpach, had originally been charged with forcing entry with the intent to steal tools and technical equipment from Marine Harvest, Ardnish, on June 30, 2017, Garvan Mussel Farm on August 30, 2017, and Marine Harvest, Gorsten, on October 18, 2017.
Toolboxes and their contents, a swaging machine, a chainsaw and fuel containers with their contents had been taken from the various sites.
Procurator Fiscal, Martina Eastwood, told the court: ‘On November 2, 2017, police received information that the items concerned were in two vehicles that belonged to Mr McCulloch in Inverness. The owner of the Mussel Farm then identified the items as his.’
The sheriff asked Ms Eastwood how McCulloch got into the premises.
She said: ‘The police report said the gate was unlocked. Police did not detail any damage or forceful entry to the site. Mr McCulloch’s position was that there was no forced entry and he got in by unlatching the gate.’
The court heard that there was no evidence to prove McCulloch forced entry to any site and so the charge was dropped. All the tools and equipment were returned.
Defence agent, Hamish Melrose told the court that in August 2017 McCulloch had been living with his grandparents who put him out, saying he was lazy.
At the time of the majority of the offences he was living in his car.
Mr Melrose said: ‘He has three children aged between two and six which he pays child maintenance to the mother, but is in regular contact with them.
‘He has moved on in life, working in an assistant managerial position in a company providing tyres locally.’
Sheriff Chris Dickson said: ‘I accept you were having a hard time in your life at the time of these incidents.
‘As an alternative to custody I will issue you with a community payback order of 109 hours of unpaid work.’