A sharp-eyed neighbour contacted police when she saw two men trying to break into a house in Rosehaugh Road in Inverness, the city’s sheriff court heard yesterday.
She managed to give police a description and 22-year-old Jordan Macdonald was arrested in nearby Coronation Road shortly after the break-in on February 20 last year.
Sentence had been deferred on Macdonald, of Cordon House, Union Street, last month by Sheriff Margaret Neilson who had called for a background report on the first offender.
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At Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday she decided not to jail Macdonald, who admitted theft by housebreaking.
Instead, she ordered him to be placed under social work supervision for 18 months and to do 200 hours of unpaid community work.
Defence solicitor Duncan Henderson explained that his client “had been struggling with drink and drugs although he managed to continue working as a tree planter”.
He added: “He is now in a settled relationship and he could be dealt with by a sentence in the community.”
The court heard at the earlier hearing that about 6pm the woman looked out of her window and saw two men, one kneeling on the ground floor bedroom window ledge.
There was a female nearby and the other man had a Rottweiller dog.
Depute fiscal Michelle Molley said the woman thought they were up to no good and shouted at them.
One of the men claimed he was the householder but the woman knew her neighbour and said it wasn’t him so she called the police.
The householder was later traced at Raigmore Hospital but no-one was found near the property.
Later the same evening at 10.30pm the resident heard a window breaking and saw the same two men outside the property.
One entered through a broken ground floor window and the house was ransacked. The police were called and arrived within 10 minutes and Macdonald was traced nearby.
Police recovered a chocolate fountain, jumpers and brand-named trainers, a blender and grooming set.