A Moray bartender who raided more than £1,000 from his employer’s safe to pay his brother’s drug debt has avoided prison.
Othman Reggane appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court for sentencing yesterday after previously admitting stealing from the Fife Arms Hotel in Keith.
The 28-year-old claimed he was driven to lift the sum while cashing up last December, after he and his brother were subjected to increasingly “insistent” demands from drug dealers.
But he became so struck with guilt the following morning that he called the hotel and admitted what he had done.
Fiscal Kevin Corrins said: “When the accused returned home that night he woke up his partner to say that he had stolen the money to pay off a drug debt his brother owed.
“He sent the hotel owner a text message the next morning at 8.30am to say what he had done.
“He later told police he believed it was an emergency situation.”
Reggane, who was sacked following the incident, appeared in the dock clutching a brown envelope containing the cash he intended to pay back.
His solicitor, Stephen Carty, explained the quandary the accused found himself in that night.
He said: “A number of rather unsavoury individuals were pursuing a debt my client’s brother owed them.
“They made it perfectly clear that they were not concerned with who paid them the money – and became quite insistent, to put it politely.
“He was panicked and made a wrong decision.”
Reggane, of Drummuir, admitted a charge of stealing the money from the hotel on Wednesday, December 9.
Sheriff Chris Dickson said he was persuaded not to imprison the accused based on how quickly he confessed to the crime.
He placed Reggane under supervision for the next six months, and ordered him to pay back the money and perform 80 hours of unpaid work.