A drug addict desperate for his morning methadone prescription snatched a schoolgirl’s purse as she waited on a bus in Forfar town centre on Monday.
Jamie Cormie had tried to beg a cigarette from people waiting at the high street stance, but when the 15-year-old took her purse out of her pocket to get on the school bus he seized his opportunity and grabbed it before running off.
The brave youngster chased after him, shouting for help to stop the callous thief and Cormie was grappled to the ground by someone who knew him.
He made off after dropping the purse, but police soon caught up with the 24-year-old who told them he had committed the crime out of desperation.
Appearing in handcuffs in the dock at Forfar Sheriff Court, Cormie made a public apology to his victim, telling a sheriff: “Can I just say I’m very sorry? I really mean it.”
Depute fiscal Bill Kermode said the incident happened around 8.25am in the town’s East High Street.
“The 15-year-old was wearing a school uniform, including a school tie, and was clearly identifiable as a child. The accused was not known to her prior to the offence,” said Mr Kermode.
Cormie, who the victim said appeared agitated, introduced himself as Jamie and engaged her in conversation.
When the bus arrived and she took her purse out, he grabbed it and ran off.
The court heard he only got yards away when the 24-year-old passer-by who witnessed what was happening grabbed him by the jacket and pulled him onto the pavement, and when the accused tried to get back to his feet he pulled him to the ground by the legs.
“The accused then repeatedly said sorry, before running off,” added the fiscal.
The incident left the girl in tears and clearly distressed, and she went with the good Samaritan to report the matter to police.
Cormie was traced soon after, and the court was told he had made an attempt to change his appearance from what he was wearing earlier.
When apprehended by officers he told them: “I dinnae hae a clue. I was down the street for my methadone.”
Defence solicitor Nick Markowski said Cormie, of Thornton Place, Forfar, had a history of drug addiction.
“Firstly, he has asked me to publicly apologise to the complainer in this case,” said the solicitor.
“This was not a planned incident. His sole intention was to scrounge a cigarette from people at the bus stop.
“He saw the purse, grabbed it and got ten yards before he was tackled to the ground.
“Thankfully the complainer was uninjured but clearly shaken,” added Mr Markowski.
“He was released from his last prison sentence in May and is in temporary accommodation.
“His is keen to break the cycle of offending and he bitterly regrets his actions.”
Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown ordered the preparation of a criminal justice social work report on Cormie before he is sentenced next month and he was released on bail.