A north-east dad has claimed he stole tonnes of steel pipe from his employer’s yard to pay off gambling debts.
Steven McGregor pleaded guilty to enlisting a haulage firm to carry four loads of tubular pipes away from Peterson UK’s storage base at Inglismaldie, near Laurencekirk.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday heard that the 88 pipes were valued at about £206,000 by the companies storing them at the facility, including energy giant Total, but that some confusion remained over their true worth.
The 36-year-old was working as pipe yard team leader and was responsible for all equipment coming in and out of the site.
His solicitor Mike Munro said the accused, of Alexander Terrace in Aberdeen, had been driven to commit the crime as he is “a man with a family and gambling debts”.
Fiscal depute Colin Neilson said that, in February and April 2016, trucks arrived at the site empty and left loaded with steel tubes.
The four loads, averaging about 1,800 metric tonnes, were sold to Panda Rosa in Aberdeen.
The type of pipe taken, and whether or not it had been used offshore before, would have a bearing on the value, the court was told.
Sheriff Andrew Miller said he had presided over cases in the past with vastly different estimates in the value of scrap metal, based on whether or not it had been used offshore.
Prosecutors and Mr Monro failed to agree on the value of the stolen tubing – with estimates previously topping £1 million.
Sheriff Miller deferred sentencing for social work reports and an assessment on whether a curfew would be suitable for McGregor.
And he urged all sides to agree on the value of the steel taken as it would likely affect the punishment he hands down.