Man jailed after breaking into Hindu temple and Baptist church in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Hindu and Cultural Centre in St Andrew Place. Picture: TSPL
Edinburgh Hindu and Cultural Centre in St Andrew Place. Picture: TSPL
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A 47-year old thief broke into a Hindu temple and a Baptist church in the same month.

Scot Mackenzie, a prisoner in Addiewell, was jailed for a total of 32 months at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today after pleading guilty to breaking into the Edinburgh Hindu Mandir and Cultural Centre in St Andrew Place on September 2 and the Elim Pentecostal Baptist Church in Morningside Road on the night of September 26.

Fiscal Depute, Aidan Higgins, told Sheriff Robert Fife that a 32-year old woman had gone to the Temple with her children for prayers about 2.30 pm and left her handbag in a buggy inside the front entrance hall. An hour later, she discovered a £10 note was missing from her purse. The Temple secretary, Mukund Joshi, viewed CCTV footage which showed Mackenzie overcoming the electric magnetic lock on the door, taking the purse out of the bag, pocketing the £10 note and replacing the purse.

The police were called, and while they were talking to Mr Joshi, Mackenzie came back to the Temple and was identified as being the the man seen on CCTV. He was arrested, but later released on bail.

On the evening of September 26 there was a gathering in the Baptist church. When the Administrator returned the following morning, the front door had been forced open, as well as the door to the coffee bar. A laptop and IPad were missing and a briefcase had been forced open and £100 taken. Mr Higgins said the total value of the stolen items was £2000 and the damage to the doors and locks, £1700.

The Fiscal added that a cigarette butt was found at the front door and a DNA sample matched that of Mackenzie.

Solicitor Advocate, Stuart Carson, said his client, who suffered from schizophrenia, had been staying in various hostels. Since being remanded in custody, he had been receiving anti-psychotic treatment and there had been an improvement in his mental health.

Jailing Mackenzie, Sheriff Fife told him: “In view of your previous convictions, of which there are many, and the serious nature of the offences and circumstances, there is no alternative to custodial sentences”.