A thief who broke into a Moray home and stole items before driving off in the family’s car was caught by police driving the vehicle while drunk less than a mile away.
Norman Stewart, from Buckie, raided the Kessock Road property in his hometown in the early hours of July 15.
The homeowners awoke shortly before 7am to discover their kitchen and conservatory had been ransacked – with a 65-inch television, iPad, mobile phone, bank cards and six bottles of whisky all missing.
Yesterday, Stewart was warned he faced being locked up after he pleaded guilty to stealing the items as well as the couple’s Ford Mondeo when he appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court.
Fiscal David Morton said that “dirty footprints” were found by the homeowners as they discovered the horror of the thefts.
And he revealed that police traced their vehicle on the town’s Smirack Road shortly before 11am the same day – and found the 20-year-old drunk behind the wheel.
Mr Morton said: “Police received an anonymous call to advise that the accused was driving the vehicle in the Findochty area and appeared intoxicated.
“At 10.40am police identified the stolen vehicle and the accused in the driver’s seat.
“He was immediately removed from the vehicle, smelled strongly of alcohol and appeared unsteady on his feet.”
A search of Stewart traced the key for the car with bottles of whisky and bank cards also found within the vehicle.
Breath tests done at Elgin Police Station found that he had 32mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – the legal limit is 22mcg.
It was later established that the thief was also banned from driving a car until November 2022.
Checks done by the owners of their home in the immediate aftermath of the break-in found that the door to their conservatory had been damaged and was insecure as a result.
Defence solicitor Stephen Carty declined to make a submission on behalf of his client until he is sentenced next month.
Stewart, who is currently a prisoner in Polmont, had his sentence deferred to November 29 for reports to be prepared after he pleaded guilty to charges of theft by housebreaking, theft of a motor vehicle, drink driving and driving while disqualified.