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Gang tied up neighbour’s front door and spray-painted CCTV on day of Spar raids in Leuchars and Inchture

A professional gang of thieves raided shops in Fife and Perthshire in the same morning.

The gang stole more than £6,000 worth of items during a break-in which lasted less than four minutes.

The Spar break-in at Inchture.

The Edinburgh-based gang then turned over a second Spar store less than an hour later and got away with a further £850 worth of cigarettes.

The trio used a stolen number plate, spray painted a CCTV camera and tied up a neighbour’s door with a rope to prevent them responding to the shop alarm.

But careless Darryl Pollock forgot to use gloves when he was handling the rope and detectives were able to identify his DNA on it.

They confirmed his involvement when they established he had used the stolen number plates on his own car, Perth Sheriff Court heard on Tuesday.

Pollock, 36, Ardshiel Avenue, Edinburgh, admitted stealing number plates from a car parked in Fern Place, Leuchars, on February 28 last year.

He admitted donning a mask and breaking into the Spar shops in Leuchars and Inchture, between Perth and Dundee, a short time later.

Sheriff Gillian Wade said: “Be in no doubt that my primary intention is to impose a custodial sentence. You broke into commercial premises and it was obviously planned.”

Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told the court: “In the morning the owner of the car realised the licence plate had been taken from his vehicle.

“The vehicle used was the accused’s but the stolen number plate was put on it, so ultimately it took a little longer to track down.

Spar store in Inchture raided for third time in four months

North-east Fife break-ins believed to be work of travelling criminals

“CCTV was reviewed and he and two others were seen parking outside. They forced open the door. They entered the shop wearing masks and gloves.

“They filled a one ton rubble sack with items from behind the till before leaving.

“They were in the shop less than four minutes and it would be fair to say it was a fairly organised job.”

She said alcohol, cigarettes and other items were taken with a value of £6,404.

The gang then drove straight to Inchture to hit the second Spar branch.

Ms Robertson said: “They spray painted over the CCTV camera.

“The accused was ultimately traced because the individual who lives above the shop found a rope had been tied around the front of the door which meant she couldn’t open it when she heard the alarm.

“The accused’s DNA was found on that rope, and because of that and inquiries into the getaway vehicle, the accused was traced.”

None of the stolen items were recovered but a balaclava, the rubble sack and distinctive clothing Pollock had been wearing were found in his home.

Pollock was granted bail and sentence was deferred for the preparation of social work reports.

The Inchture raid was the third in four months at the same shop and resulted in police stepping up patrols in the area.

Local councillor Angus Forbes said at the time: “I really feel for the family who own the shop.

“They are trying hard to provide a service in the village and just a few months ago they agreed to install and host the village defibrillator on their shop wall at their own expense.

“Inchture is normally an area of very low crime but the last few months have changed that.”

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