Drunk thief caught topping up stolen phone

Aaron Smith was given a 16 month sentence at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture:
Aaron Smith was given a 16 month sentence at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture:
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A drunken teenager, who robbed another youngster of his mobile phone, was tracked down when he “topped up” the stolen handset and was identified on CCTV.

Nineteen-year old Aaron Smith, a prisoner in Polmont Brightons, was sent to detention for 16 months, with a 12 months supervised release order, when he appeared in Edinburgh Sheriff Court today. He had pled pled guilty previously to assaulting 18-year old Thomas Whiteford and robbing him of his mobile phone in Murrayburn Road on October 25 last year. He also admitted breaking into a house in Milton Road West with intent to steal on May 16 last year. Sentence had been deferred for reports.

Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC was told by Fiscal Depute, Kirsty Anderson, that Mr Whiteford was at a bus stop, listening to music on his phone, when he was approached by Smith, who asked him if he had a spare cigarette. Mr Whiteford told him he didn’t smoke. Smith then asked him what the time was and was told it was ten minutes to midnight.

The Fiscal added: “Mr Whiteford noticed the accused was in possession of a glass bottle. The accused demanded ‘Give me your f.....g phone or I will knock you out’. He raised the bottle above his head and brandished it at Mr Whiteford. He repeated ‘Give me your f.....g phone or I will knock you out’ three times and Mr Whiteford felt intimidated and handed his phone over. When he got home, he informed his parents, and the police were contacted”.

Ms Anderson said that on October 27, the police were informed that the phone had been topped up and Smith was identified from CCTV footage on November 8. He was arrested on November 25 and the phone was in his property.

At around 20 minutes to midnight on May 15, police on mobile patrol saw Smith dressed in a grey T-shirt, jogging bottoms and dark shoes and carrying a bottle of vodka.

Just after midnight, 73-year old Elizabeth Boyle was in bed when she saw the security panel in her room had been activated. She opened the window blind and saw the upper half of Smith’s body.

John Jacobs, 80, who was also in the house shouted for her to phone the police and Smith ran off.

The Fiscal said that about 10 minutes later, the officers who had spotted Smith earlier, saw him again. He appeared under the influence of alcohol. They then heard on their radio about an attempted housebreaking and a description of the suspect which matched Smith, who was about 100 metres away from the house. He was arrested.

Defence Solicitor, Neil Martin, told Sheriff Welsh that his client was remorseful about what had happened and described his actions as “stupid”. The primary factor behind Smith’s behaviour, he said, was alcohol and Valium. “While free from substances and alcohol, he is a well-mannered young man” he added. He pointed out that Smith had been in custody since November 28 and had lodged an early plea of guilty.

Sheriff Welsh told Smith: “I am satisfied a custodial sentence is appropriate in this case given its nature”. Back-dating the custodial element of the sentence to November 28, he added: “I have to say, if you breach the supervision component of this order and the case comes before me, I will be imposing custody”.