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Aberdeen man jailed after stealing phone and purse from widow in mosque

The Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre on Spital
The Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre on Spital

An Aberdeen crook has been jailed after rifling through the belongings of worshippers at a church and mosque.

Steven Lockhart, 44, stole a mobile phone and purse from the handbag of a widow who had been visiting the Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre with her child to pray.

Police previously released CCTV pictures in a bid to trace Lockhart.

He previously pled guilty to three charges of theft, one of theft by opening a locked vehicle and another charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice by giving police false details. Sentence had been deferred for reports.

Sheriff Graham Buchanan ordered Lockhart, whose address was given in court papers as Bedford Road, Aberdeen, to be jailed for 18 weeks.

Depute fiscal Gavin Letford told Aberdeen Sheriff Court a woman had left her handbag and purse on the floor in the worship area of the building on Spital while she went to the toilet at around 2.35pm on October 7, adding: “At this time the accused was seen to enter the locus wearing a rucksack. He removed his footwear and went up to the worship room.

“Persons who saw him became suspicious and he was followed and was found to be standing not too far from her handbag.

“He was asked if he could be assisted and his response was he was there to pray, but he immediately went back downstairs, got his shoes and left.”

When the woman returned from the toilet she found her mobile phone and purse, which had been inside her handbag, had gone.

CCTV was reviewed and showed Lockhart entering and leaving, but did not capture the offence.

Mr Letford said the items stolen were valued at £645.

In a separate incident on September 29, Lockhart targeted the Father’s House, a church on Caroline Place, Aberdeen, while a conference was taking place.

Mr Letford said the accused entered the conference room around 1.30pm while those attending were elsewhere having a coffee break.

Asked if he needed help he said he was “just there to look around”.

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Lockhart was followed and after he left it was noticed a wallet and an iPad were missing. Mr Letford said the items were valued at £320.

On the same day Lockhart stole a purse and sets of keys from the Range at Queens Links Leisure Park, before using the stolen car keys to open a vehicle in the car park and steal clothes.

Defence agent Iain McGregor said: “As far as the various offences are concerned I don’t think there’s much I can add to what’s contained within the report.

“Mr Lockhart has had a drug problem for quite some considerable time.”

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