A Moray man whose drug problem fuelled a string of crimes avoided jail when he appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday.
Alexander McPhee, formerly of Hendry Terrace, Buckie – whose most recent address was listed as the Royal Hotel in Forres – admitted two thefts and an attack on his girlfriend at Hogmany.
Fiscal Alison Wylie told the court that, on November 18 last year, McPhee “blagged” his way into a neighbour’s house in Hendry Terrace and stole £190.
She said: “The accused knocked on the door of the house at 6pm, holding a plastic jug, claiming he had been at a party there earlier and left his phone.
“He was told he had the wrong house. He tried another house and was found by police rummaging through a bedroom drawer.”
The following month, the 31-year-old and his partner, Carol Cormack, decided to spend Christmas apart. However, they found themselves back together on New Year’s Eve, and got into an argument which resulted in him verbally abusing her and slapping her in the face.
He then stole a £600 iphone from a woman at the White Horse Inn in Elgin on April 4.
McPhee’s solicitor, Graham Mann, said: “He knows he is far too old to offer this as an excuse to the court, but he has his difficulties and to say he has lived a chaotic lifestyle would be an understatement.”
Sentencing McPhee, Sheriff James Hendry said: “The easiest thing to do would be to go through this matter and give you periods of imprisonment and you’re deserving of that because of your behaviour.
“However, what is going to happen is you will get out in three or four months time and get back into this environment that caused you all the problems in the first place.”
Instead, McPhee was given 18 months to complete 200 hours on unpaid work.