A drunk man who stole a digger and tried to break into an ATM at a convenience store was yesterday jailed for two years.
Duncan Elrick, 35, carried out the “haphazard” crime at Regent Street in Keith, Moray, after drinking heavily all day.
The offence was committed after he headed to the Spar store to buy more alcohol at 3am on January 19 but found the shop closed.
After reading recent news reports about similar crimes, Elrick decided to steal a digger parked up nearby that was being used for roadworks in the area.
Witnesses on the street watched him driving on the wrong side of the road towards the shop with the lights flashing and beeping on the vehicle.
Depute Fiscal Kevin Corrans told Elgin Sheriff Court that he used the arm of the digger to attack the shop front and witnesses heard a loud bang at about 3.50am.
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He said: “He barged into the front of the shop and used the arm to go directly through the ATM several times, with witnesses believing he was trying to break into it.
“With the shopfront completely destroyed, his focus still seemed to be on the ATM.
“After the incident, the police searched the vicinity and could not find any sign of the suspect but shop staff showed them footage of what happened.”
The court was shown CCTV footage of the destruction caused by Elrick, who only managed to steal three bottles of whisky from the shop and left a trail of debris in his wake.
Elrick, whose address was given in court papers as HMP Inverness, was snared after he headed back to the scene of the crime and walked past smiling and was noticed by one of the officers.
He caused £30,000 worth of damage to the building, about £15,000 worth of damage to the digger and the ATM had to be entirely replaced, costing £5,500.
The shop had to close for five days for repairs to be carried out, which resulted in the business losing about £5,000 worth of profit a day.
Defence solicitor Iain Jane described the crime as “completely haphazard and unprofessional” and one that was more opportunistic than planned.
He said: “My client has no rationality to what followed his bender and if he had any intention, it was to break into the shop to steal alcohol, although he was attracted by the ATM and wanted to remove it.
“There have been a number of cases of thefts of ATMs in Scotland, usually done by professional gangs and this was a haphazard attempt.
“He had no clothing to hide his appearance, put on the flashing lights in the digger and spoke to people prior to the incident and completely destroyed the ATM.”
Elrick pled guilty to stealing a digger, attempting to force open an ATM with intent to steal, breaking into the Spar and theft, culpably and recklessly driving the digger and driving while disqualified.
Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov sentenced him to two years imprisonment, and also disqualified him from driving for 10 years.