A metal thief was caught dangling from a classroom ceiling after raiding an abandoned Aberdeenshire primary school to steal copper piping.
Piotr Bielesz caused damage worth “a high five-figure sum” at Inverurie’s Market Place Primary School when he broke in looking to make some “easy money”.
But the 39-year-old was caught out when an inspector and engineer checking the building spotted his legs dangling from a classroom ceiling.
Bielesz came down and fled through a fire exit before it was discovered he had caused extensive cosmetic and water damage by ripping out copper.
Fiscal depute Victoria Kerr told Aberdeen Sheriff Court the incident happened around noon on July 19 2019.
‘It had just been announced it was to be demolished’
She said: “An inspector and engineer were required to complete a survey of the locus and were walking around it.
“They walked into a classroom and noted the legs of a male, the accused, hanging from the ceiling.
“They shouted for him to come down which he eventually did.
“The accused then immediately left the room through a fire exit.
“One of the witnesses attempted to follow him but was unable to trace him.
“When the witnesses subsequently checked the building, they noticed substantial damage and a large volume of copper piping had been removed.
“This caused substantial cosmetic and water damage.
“A large copper hot water cylinder had also been removed.”
Investigations were carried out, including forensics, and Bielesz was traced.
‘No effort to repair the damage was ever going to be made’
Ms Kerr said the value of the stolen copper was unknown, but that the damage to the building was estimated to be worth “a high five-figure sum”.
Bielesz, of Gort Road, Aberdeen, pled guilty to a charge of theft by housebreaking.
Defence agent John Hardie said: “The school wasn’t in operation then, not because it was the school holidays, but because it was closed in 2017.
“It had just been announced it was to be demolished.
“He had been persuaded he could make some easy money by stealing some copper from the derelict building.
“No effort to repair the damage was ever going to be made, but presumably there was a value in that there were still items within the building.”
Sheriff Ian Wallace fined Bielesz £450.
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