A convicted thief who stole a rare £5,000 stamp from a grieving family will be allowed to continue trading following a secret meeting at Perth and Kinross Council.
Richard Allcoat, who runs the Kinross Stamp and Coin Shop, was found guilty of stealing a Penny Blue stamp from the family’s £23,000 collection and attempting to sell it on Ebay.
The stamp dealer was brought before the local authority’s licensing board on Thursday where, behind closed doors, councillors greenlit Allcoat to continue trading despite the conviction.
Allcoat admitted stealing the stamp between September 17 and 19 last year but claimed he had found the pricey collectable after it fallen on the floor.
However at Perth Sheriff Court in January, Sheriff Neil Bowie dismissed Allcoat’s excuse as “incredible” and fined him £2,500.
The stamp dealer was hauled before the local authority twice where he successfully defended his position to keep trading.
He originally appeared before councillors in November but was again brought before the committee last week following the outcome of the trial.
Speaking after the licencing board’s decision, Allcoat apologised to both the Jarvie family who owned the Penny Blue and his customers.
The stamp dealer maintained that his actions had been out of character and born out of grief after losing both his parents in recent years.
Allcoat, who has been in the stamp business for 20 years and owner of shop in Kinross for nine, said he was “heartened” by the decision of local authority’s licensing board.
“I have some very learned customers and they all trust me,” said Allcoat.
“I had character references that went into both the police and the council.
“The council people saw it was a one off.
“I have civil servants, police, ex-police, ex-army, and I have the backing of a number of other stamp dealers around Scotland – they all sent letters in support.
“They have found that I was a fit and proper person despite me now having a record for theft.
“I’m hugely heartened by the council’s decision and more to the point my regular customers rely on me and I’m really looking forward to seeing them again when I open up my doors.
“I’ve apologised to every one of them for my behaviour.”
Conservative councillor and convener of the licensing board committee, Chris Ahern, refused to comment on the decision which was made at the private meeting.
Perth and Kinross Council also refused to give details of the decision making process.
A spokesperson for the local authority said: “Minutes of the meeting will be reported publicly at the next meeting.”