Church robber on legal highs is jailed

Ross Davidson stole a collection tin, a candle holder and two robes from St Patrick's Church in thge Cowgate. Picture: Greg Macvean
Ross Davidson stole a collection tin, a candle holder and two robes from St Patrick's Church in thge Cowgate. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A THIEF fuelled by legal highs who stole a charity tin from a historic Catholic church has been jailed.

Ross Davidson, 28, broke into St Patrick’s Church on the Cowgate and lifted the collection tin, a candle holder and two religious robes.

And during the robbery Davidson, who had been abusing legal highs beforehand, also damaged an image of Christ positioned on a crucifix worth £10,000.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told a priest discovered the theft when he opened up in the morning.

Depute fiscal Melanie Ward said: “When the church was entered there was significant damage at the point of entry. A large crucifix with Jesus on the crucifix had been knocked on to the ground and both arms had been broken off.”

The court also heard Davidson had broken into a home just weeks before the raid on the church and made off with an iPad, £200 and a case of beer.

Defending solicitor David Patterson told the court his client, described as a prisoner at Low Moss, was under no illusion he was facing a custodial sentence. He added Davidson had little recollection of the break-ins and it was not his intention to damage the expensive crucifix.

Sheriff Paul Arthurson QC sentenced Davidson to a three-year prison sentence.

After the sentence, Monsignor Philip Kerr, parish priest at St Patrick’s, said he felt sorry for Davidson and hoped a spell behind bars would be of 
benefit: “He got in after breaking a window pane and that was nominal damage. Unfortunately the crucifix was toppled and both arms of Christ were broken.

“Fortunately, a parishioner managed to fix the statue with minimal fuss. It is impossible to say how old the crucifix is, but it was here when the Catholic Church took over here in 1856.

“The charity tin was collecting for the St Vincent de Paul Society, which is a lay association that helps the poor. More than anything, I feel sorry for this young man and he is obviously in need of help which he will hopefully receive.”