A thief who twice targeted a luxury hotel frequented by royalty and Hollywood stars was jailed for 18 months yesterday.
Craig Stevens was part of a masked gang which stole more than £10,000 worth of gear during two raids at the Fairmont Hotel in St Andrews.
Stevens and two accomplices stole from the championship golf courses at the Fife resort hotel, where guests have included Prince William, Tony Blair and Hugh Grant.
Sheriff Tom Hughes said: “It is quite clear from the circumstances that these are very serious offences.
“These were carried out by a group of people who targeted breaking in and stealing a substantial amount. It is all far too serious for anything other than a custodial sentence.”
Stevens – who has a back issue which affects his mobility – was later identified as part of the gang on CCTV footage because of his unusual gait.
The trio stole £5,910-worth of greenkeeping equipment after breaking into the shed on the championship course at the Fife hotel on 26 April last year.
After getting away with the large haul, the brazen gang returned a few weeks later and broke in again to steal another £4,470-worth of machinery and tools.
Fiscal depute Marie Irvine told Dundee Sheriff Court the hotel greenkeeper arrived at 5am and found the shed had been broken into overnight.
“A van arrived and items were placed into it. They were wearing balaclava type masks to conceal their identities,” she told the court.
On June 11 the greenkeeper discovered the gang had been back and had once again broken into the shed and stolen thousands of pounds worth of equipment.
This time a review of the CCTV was able to pick up the registration number of the vehicle and it was traced to Stevens.
Officers traced him in the van with a former co-accused and a number of the stolen items. He tried to pull away but was arrested by the officers.
A search was then carried out at his home and the balaclava he had been wearing during both raids was recovered from within the property.
“He has back issues that affect his mobility and he was seen to make laboured movements on the CCTV,” Miss Irvine said.
Solicitor Emma Farmer, defending, said: “He wasn’t necessarily the brains behind the operation. He got involved in this to make funds for a drug habit.”
Stevens, of Stewart Court, Methil, admitted breaking into the Fairmont Hotel’s property on April 26 and June 10 and stealing the large haul.