Shoeless thief caught by DNA from sweaty foot

A hapless thief was traced by the DNA from his sweaty foot after he fled the scene without a shoe.

Falkirk man Charles Pluck was “bravely tackled” by a janitor who had gone to check why an alarm was going off at 3am in the Raploch Community Campus in Stirling, which houses two primary schools and other facilities.

Stirling Sheriff Court was told Archie MacAskill noticed a light on in the cleaning materials cupboard in a service corridor.

Prosecutor Sarah Lumsden said: “He the in the cleaning cupboard with a black rucksack and a crowbar, a T-shirt wrapped round his head, and a quantity of ‘wet floor’ signs.

“Perhaps quite bravely, Mr MacAskill challenged the accused as to why he was on the premises.

“The accused said that somebody had let him in, and asked Mr MacAskill to please let him go.

“Mr MacAskill said he’d have to phone the police.”

Burly Pluck then made off through an exit door.

Miss Lumsden added: “Mr MacAskill, again perhaps quite bravely, tried to grab the accused to stop him leaving.

“He escaped his grasp, but he did manage to grab the T-shirt that was wrapped round his head and the rucksack off his back.

“The accused, being keen to make his getaway, tripped over, which made one of his shoes fall off, and in his hurry he left it behind.”

Mr MacAskill later picked pluck out from a “rogue’s gallery” of pictures of known criminals shown to him by police, and the identification was confirmed by DNA from perspiration traces in the abandoned shoe.

Miss Lumsden said: “Nothing was stolen, but it in the circumstances, it was an intent to steal.”

Pluck (25) pleaded guilty to being in the Community Campus with intent to steal in the incident on September 14 last year.

Appearing from custody at Stirling Sheriff Court, he also admitted reset of stolen goods in Carronshore, Falkirk, on February 19 last year.

Miss Lumsden said that, in that incident, he was found in Abbots Road, Carronshore, with a £100 sat nav, “a charity sweetie tin”, a quantity of coffee products and a signed Falkirk Football Club top, which had been stolen earlier in a break-in at the Shire Timber company in Dock Street, Falkirk.

Dougal Grant, defending, said Pluck was a qualified chef, who, at the time of the offences, had “fallen on hard times”.

He admitted that Pluck had a long record for dishonesty, but not for violence.

He pointed out that Pluck had dropped the crowbar as soon as he was challenged by the janitor in the schools building.

Mr Grant said: “He was not interested in confrontation. He has an aversion to causing physical harm. He finds it difficult to comprehend, sometimes, the situations he gets himself into.”

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson jailed Pluck for three and a half years.