Hapless housebreaker caught after he left a shoe at the scene of the crime in West Lothian

A hapless housebreaker had no chance of escaping justice, a court heard.

Sunday, 4th August 2019, 4:17 pm
The man was caught after he left a shoe at the scene of the crime.

Paul MacKay was not only known to the occupants of the house he targeted and he was also caught in the act climbing through a kitchen window he had been heard smashing.

As the bungling burglar desperately tried to crawl back outside to escape, one of the occupants of the house in Livingston, West Lothian, grabbed him by the legs.

Although MacKay managed to kick free of the man’s grasp and run away he left behind one of his trainers which had been pulled off in the struggle.

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When police went looking for MacKay at his mum’s house shortly afterwards they found his matching trainer lying in the hallway, Livingston Sheriff Court was told.

MacKay’s mother told officers she’d been expecting them because her son had told her what he’d done.

She indicated that the accused was upstairs and, after a brief search, police found him hiding in a cupboard.


MacKay, 30, a prisoner at HMP Addiewell, pled guilty to breaking into 69-year-old pensioner Elizabeth Burns’ home in Clement Rise on 11 June 2019 with intent to steal.

Andy Aitken, defending, admitted that McKay had an “appalling record” of previous convictions for dishonesty.

He said his client’s life had been blighted by the use of heroin and, more recently illicit diazepam.

He said: “During the commission of this offence he was heavily under the influence of diazepam.

“He’s quite clear he was so away with it in relation to the drug that he didn’t know what he was doing

“So desperate for drugs was he that he broke in. In my submission he didn't break in to a complete stranger’s house.”

He said following MacKay’s release from prison, he hoped to start a new life in Edinburgh with his partner David Dixon, away from people associated with his significant drug use.

Sheriff Susan Craig told MacKay he had failed to complete drug treatment and testing orders and other community sentences imposed on him in the past.

She said: “You have a very poor record for dishonesty and there are several convictions for theft on your record.

“I accept it’s your position that you were intending to break in to steal drugs.

“Nonetheless this was a property occupied by a woman in her later years.

“No doubt it would have been distressing to her.”

She sentenced MacKay to 12 months in prison, backdated to 12 June when he was first remanded in custody for the offence.