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Serial shoplifter jailed after assaulting Kirkcaldy Co-op worker

Biting ear spit chunk
Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

A serial shoplifter who tormented Kirkcaldy Co-op branches for six weeks, before assaulting a staff member, has been jailed.

Robert Burns appeared via videolink at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court and pled guilty to seven charges of shoplifting and the assault on shop worker Abbie Bowlzer.

Burns’ spree began on April 25 when he nabbed £39.55 worth of still unrecovered coffee from the Co-op on Dunearn Drive.

On May 1, he headed to the chain’s branch on Bennochy Road, where he pinched another £39.75 worth of coffee, which was later recovered.

After a brief hiatus, Burns helped himself to alcohol worth £40 from the company’s Lauder Road shop on May 18. Some of this loot was recovered.

A day later, he returned to plunder another £60 worth of booze, some of which was later recovered.

Before calling it a day, 40-year-old Burns made his way from one Co-op to another to steal alcohol and food worth £30 from the Dunearn Drive branch on May 19.

After a few days off, Burns, of Valley Gardens in Kirkcaldy, made his way back to the Dunearn Drive store to steal £41 worth of food and washing detergent on May 31. None of these goods were traced, the court heard.

‘Significant poverty’

That same day, he made his way into the town centre to steal a Freeview box worth £59.99 from the Cash Generator pawnbroker on Kirkcaldy High Street. The box was never found.

His campaign came to an end when Co-op employee Ms Bowlzer stopped Burns at the Bennochy Road branch at around 6.40pm on June 2, suspecting he had been shoplifting.

Burns – who had not been stealing on that occasion – pushed Ms Bowlzer on the body as he attempted to leave the shop.

Burns pled guilty from custody by video link. His defence solicitor David Cranston explained that Burns had been experiencing “significant poverty” after having benefits sanctioned.

Sheriff James Williamson sentenced Burns to eight months in prison.

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