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£21k lawnmower thief told ‘bring a bag’ to Kirkcaldy court after lying to social workers

The lawnmowers were stolen from the industrial estate on Woodgate Way North, Glenrothes.
The lawnmowers were stolen from the industrial estate on Woodgate Way North, Glenrothes.

An Angus man has been told he is facing a prison sentence after lying to social workers about £21,000 worth of machinery he stole in Fife.

Graham Burke, from Balmuirwood in Tealing, had his sentence deferred further after admitting stealing a pair of industrial lawnmowers and aluminium ramps in Glenrothes.

The owner of the mowers and ramps had them in an Ifor Williams trailer, parked on Woodgate Way North on August 15 2019.

At Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, fiscal depute Catherine Stevenson explained the trailer had been hitched to the owner’s van when he parked it at his industrial estate workplace at 8am.

When the driver came back at 3pm, the trailer had been unhooked and was nowhere to be seen.

‘Brazen’ theft

The owner of the trailer watched CCTV from a neighbouring business and saw Burke pull up in a red Ford Transit Van just after 2pm.

He got out, unhitched the trailer and hooked it on to his vehicle before making off.

The haul, worth £21,300, was never recovered.

Burke was traced by police a week later in Buckhaven.

In an appeal for witnesses, CID labelled the theft as “brazen”.

‘Come to court with a bag’

Burke had been due to be sentenced by Sheriff Timothy Niven-Smith on Thursday but the sheriff said he could not do so because Burke had “lied” to social workers.

The sheriff said: “I have a suspicion that you have lied to the social worker with a view to minimising your involvement because you recognise that you are likely to receive a custodial sentence.

“You have placed yourself in a difficult position.

“The court is seriously considering a custodial sentence in this case.”

Burke, 41, has been given until May 31 to find a new solicitor after his representative, Alistair Burleigh, withdrew from acting at the hearing.

“I would come to court with a bag that time,” the sheriff added.

“You are staring down a custodial sentence.”

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