Would-be thief jailed after being caught trying Bo'ness home door handle

A would-be thief who was caught trying a door handle of a Bo’ness home has been imprisoned.

By Herald Reporter
Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 4:45 pm

James McNicholl (43) had been on licence when he was stopped by a householder as he attempted to force his way into a property in Craigallan Park in the early hours of December 23, 2020.

McNicholl, Flat 11, 29 Kintyre Avenue, Linwood, appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court on Thursday.

He had admitted being in the curtilage of a property without lawful authority.

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James McNicholl was jailed at Falkirk Sheriff Court last week. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Procurator fiscal depute Sean Maher said: “At 2.30am on December 23 last year, the complainer was within the rear garden.

“He heard a rustling noise and footsteps from the side of the house.

"On investigating, he observed the accused attempt to try the door handle of the side door.

“When he was challenged he made off. He was pursued by the witness who eventually took hold of him to prevent him from escaping.”

At around the same time, a neighbour also heard footsteps but couldn’t see anything out of their window.

The neighbour contacted police before noticing McNicholl had been halted by the eyewitness.

The fiscal depute continued: “Police arrived and he was arrested.

“Whilst under caution he stated to police, ‘I came from Paisley with two others in a car’.”

His defence solicitor said McNicholl, who has a “long-standing problem with drugs”, claimed he’d been visiting friends in the area.

The lawyer added: “There had been a disagreement and he left that household as a consequence. He had no means to get home.

“He entered the residents’ properties with the intention of getting a bike.”

Sheriff Derek Hamilton replied: “That’s quite a cycle.”

Asking Sheriff Hamilton to consider a non-custodial option, McNicholl’s solicitor said his client suffers from emphysema – a lung condition that causes shortness of breath – and added: “I think it makes him more vulnerable.

“There are reports that Covid is six times more prevalent in prison than in the general public.”

Addressing McNicholl, Sheriff Hamilton said: “I’m satisfied a custodial sentence is appropriate.

“You were on licence at the time and your intentions were quite clear.

“You will return for 30 days for the unexpired sentence and thereafter two months. That will be consecutive.”

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