A man has admitted to breaking into a north-east coastguard station and raiding its offices.
Paul Morrice appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court yesterday and confessed to breaking into the Fraserburgh Coastguard building at Westshore Industrial Estate and stealing a car battery charger and a quantity of soft drink.
The incident happened between September 7 and September 9 this month.
At the time, volunteers said they had to be taken offline because the thief – who had yet to be apprehended – had broken into the crew’s vehicle and left a trail of blood around the station.
It was the second time in a year the crew’s premises had been targeted and Morrice, of West Shore Gardens, had originally been charged with the first break-in.
His plea of not guilty, however, was accepted by the Crown.
A background report on Morrice will now be prepared before he is sentenced.
Sheriff Kevin Drummond released him on bail to appear at the next hearing of the case on October 6.
Morrice’s solicitor, Sam Milligan, had told the court his client was currently the subject of a community payback order and is part-way through a drug treatment and testing order.
He said: “I am instructed to seek liberation on bail.
“There is an ongoing drug testing and treatment order and those reports have been positive.”
HM Coastguard has responded it would be “inappropriate” for it to comment on the case until Morrice is sentenced.
In the first break-in at Fraserburgh, the volunteers’ laptop had been stolen which meant they could not receive updates about weather conditions or rescue efforts.
Deputy station officer Darren Scott branded the incident “sickening” and appealed for help to replace it while colleagues warned it put lives at risk.
They had raised enough to replace the machine within 12 hours, but a big-hearted member of the community instead donated a brand new laptop free of charge.