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Farm labourer jailed after four-day ‘bad behaviour binge’ at employer’s expense

Perth Sheriff Court.
Perth Sheriff Court.

A farm labourer went on a four-day “bad behaviour binge”, stealing his holidaying employer’s car, partying in their home and pillaging their bank accounts.

Kieran O’Connor seized his opportunity with aplomb after being handed the keys to the farm, near Abernethy, where he was tasked with looking after his employer’s dogs.

He abused their trust in staggering fashion, with a sheriff dismissing out-of-hand the suggestion that 96-hours of criminality could be considered “acting on impulse”.

Within hours of being left in charge, the 24-year-old had smashed-open a cash box to steal around £600 and used a credit card to buy phone services.

Over the next three days he used the same card to steal £750 from cash machines in Bridge of Earn and Perth.

Perth Sheriff Court was told he had also staged boozy parties for his friends in the farmer’s house and used his powerful Range Rover to ferry them around.

He made numerous trips to Perth — on one occasion losing control of the car in spectacular fashion during a late night joyride.

O’Connor — who did not have a driving licence — was under the influence of alcohol as he drove friends along Edinburgh Road in his purloined vehicle.

He left the road as he passed the South Inch, mounting the pavement and careering on to the parkland, forcing him to drive over a large area of grass to re-join the road.

Hours later, at around 1am, the drunken group returned to Perth once more and after cruising streets in the Range Rover stopped at a bank cash machine to steal yet more money.

When his employers returned from holiday they found their property locked-up and secured but noticed the money box was missing.

There was no sign of forced entry but they soon noticed a credit card had also gone and a call to their bank revealed multiple transactions had taken place in their absence.

O’Connor, of Lindores, subsequently pled guilty to 11 charges with offences committed between July 18 and 21 last year.

He admitted stealing a bank card, obtaining £85.83 of mobile phone services by fraud, using three ATMs to steal £250, £200 and £250, forcing open a cash box and stealing a quantity of cash, taking and driving away a car without consent, driving without a licence or insurance and driving in a reckless and dangerous manner.

Solicitor Pauline Cullerton said O’Connor had cooperated fully with a police investigation and had admitted his guilt from the outset.

“He says that he acted on impulse, no matter how difficult it may seem to argue that when the offences took place over a four-day period,” she told Perth Sheriff Court.

“He has paid back the majority of the money he took from his employers and they have confirmed they are still willing to employ him, notwithstanding what happened.”

The solicitor asked the court to consider an alternative to custody but Sheriff William Wood told O’Connor that while his employer may have been willing to “forgive and forget” such forgiveness was not for the courts.

He said: “You seem to have been on a four-day binge of bad behaviour during which time you were guilty of a considerable breach of trust.

“You stole a credit card, stole a pin number, used your employer’s vehicle to career around Perth and you stole money from them.

“You abused their trust in so many ways and it cannot be said that this was a one-off or an impulse because these actions took place over four days.

“I notice that your employer has been willing to forgive and forget but it is my job to ensure that people are deterred from behaving in such a way.

“Given your previous convictions for fire-raising and driving offences this cannot be dealt with in any way other than a custodial sentence.”

O’Connor was jailed for six months and banned from driving for 18 months.