Rogue Santa cost toy store thousands

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Shoplifter Hugh McDougall went on a Christmas crime spree that cost a Falkirk toy store over £3000.

But when the rogue Santa appeared in court it was claimed the career crook did not benefit from his illegal activities.

At Falkirk Sheriff Court last Thursday his lawyer insisted: “Although they were not ‘opportunist’, there was nothing very sophisticated about these thefts.

“He was the brawn not the brains of the operation and other people benefited not him.”

The court heard that, on December 8 and December 17, McDougall travelled from his home in Barrowfield Street, Glasgow, to steal from the Smyths toy store in Central Retail Park.

His targets were the toys and games stocked by the popular outlet, stealing £1170 worth of items on his first trip and £1998 worth of goods on his second.

The court was told nothing was recovered.

McDougall’s lawyer said while there was “no getting away from the fact” the 31-year-old came to Falkirk to steal, he suggested McDougall had been “following orders”.

The court heard that other people had benefited from the thefts, not McDougall.

He said: “McDougall is someone with learning difficulties and very little structure to his life. The majority of his time is spent in the bookies or tending to his pigeons. He stays across from Celtic Park and works at the car park on match days.”

The court was told McDougall had a criminal record for theft and been placed on various community payback orders for his crimes in the past.

His lawyer urged he be placed on a supervised community payback order to give him “more structure” to his life.

He said: “He has never been jailed and is terrified of going to prison. He is also willing to pay compensation. When the football season starts again his income will improve.”

Sheriff Derek Livingston said he noted McDougall is due to stand trial on another theft charge later this month.

Jailing him for a total of 306 days, he said: “He travelled from Glasgow on two days to steal. Given the amounts and previous record, I can’t consider anything else but a custodial sentence.”