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Man broke into Aberdeen bar – only to find empty tills due to lockdown closure

Revolution on Belmont Street
Revolution on Belmont Street. Picture by Chris Sumner.

Bungling burglar Lee Paterson broke into an Aberdeen bar and pried open its tills with cutlery – only to find they were empty as the venue had been closed during the city’s local lockdown.

The 31-year-old was told yesterday he could be jailed for the heist he pulled, with another unnamed man, at Revolution on Belmont Street in August.

He admitted it alongside five other charges at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Fiscal depute Christy Ward said the robbery happened in the early hours of Thursday, August 20, with Paterson triggering the bar’s security system as he broke in.

Belmont break-in

“At approximately 6.45am Michael Kot, the assistant manager, received a call from the company which manages the alarm system to advise it had been set off,” she said.

“He arrived at 7am and as he walked past the side entrance, he could see a plexi sheet panel that framed the terrace had been pulled away.”

Mr Kot checked the bar’s CCTV and saw Paterson and his accomplice sneaking through a gap in the panel just before 6.30am.

Miss Ward said: “They are seen to use cutlery to force open the tills.

“However, due to the locus being closed, no money was being kept inside.”

The two men then went behind the bar and drank a bottle of wine, leaving it on a table as they made their way upstairs in the premises.

There, they took a box of a wine and another of champagne and made off with the booze, valued at £200.

It was estimated that the repair bill for the damaged panel would also be around £200.

Stolen goods

The court also heard of several other crimes committed by Paterson in August.

Yesterday he pled guilty to breaking into an Aberdeen man’s flat and stealing goods worth more than £2,400.

Late in the evening on Monday, August 10, Alan Anderson returned home to find his key would not open his front door.

He found his back door unlocked but closed, and opened it to see boxes “out of place” in his kitchen.

Miss Ward said: “He believed that someone gained entry to the property.

“He walked through to the living room and found boxes and a bag over the floor.”

After a quick check, Mr Anderson discovered a guitar, laptop, Xbox controller, iPad and around £50 in loose change were all missing.

He then saw his bathroom window had been smashed – and this was likely how Paterson made his way inside.

The police were able to inspect some blood the robber had left on the kitchen doorframe, later matching it with Paterson’s DNA.

Miss Ward told the court of another incident, this time in the early hours of August 27, where Paterson stole a motorbike and rode it along Froghall Road and Elmbank Terrace.

He was seen abandoning it on a pavement and apprehended by police, who found he had been driving the stolen vehicle while disqualified and without insurance.

While being checked in to custody, Paterson implied to two police officers he was having relationships with both of their partners, then made a homophobic remark.

Later, he removed his face covering to cough on one officer, claiming he had symptoms of coronavirus.

Paterson’s ‘spiral of offending’

Solicitor Paul Barnett said Paterson has been suffering from difficulties with drug abuse and a “spiral of offending” since getting his first conviction at 15 years old.

“He was released from his last sentence in May with no support and it wasn’t long before he went off the rails and was abusing drugs and alcohol again,” he said.

“He says he’s reached a stage in his life where he’s sick of his lifestyle being in and out of custody.

“He is at a place where he would very much welcome any help given to him.”

Sheriff William Summers deferred sentence on Paterson, a prisoner at HMP Grampian, until next month to allow for the preparation of social work reports.

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