Thief torpedoes design business with train theft

© DC Thomson
Perth Sheriff Court.

An in-demand print designer missed out on a lucrative £10,000 contract after a drug-addled thief stole her laptop from a train.

The businesswoman was left counting the cost of trusting in the honesty of fellow passengers as she travelled between Edinburgh and Inverness.

Alan Beattie was spotted by multiple witnesses as he passed up and down the train hunting for easy pickings, eventually lifting the small black suitcase containing a £900 Apple Macbook Air the designer had just placed back within a luggage rack.

The 29-year-old heroin addict timed his theft to coincide with the train’s arrival at his home station, alighting moments later at Pitlochry. His victim did not realise she had been robbed until the train arrived in Inverness.

Depute Fiscal Michael Sweeney told Perth Sheriff Court: “The witness saw that her case was missing and reported the theft to a conductor at Inverness railway station.

“They contacted the British Transport Police and officers were soon carrying out CCTV enquiries, using footage from the train and stations along the route.

“The footage showed the accused alighting from the train at Pitlochry, carrying the small black trolley case belonging to the witness.

“He was seen to get into a waiting car and then disappear from sight.”

Beattie, of Dalchampaig Road in Pitlochry, admitted stealing a suitcase and contents on May 5.

When traced by officers, he was found to have sold,or be in the process of attempting to sell, a number of purloined items.

Mr Sweeney said the loss to the owner had been more than the estimated £1,000 value of the case and contents.

“Due to being unable to carry out her work that day as a result of the theft, the witness believes she lost around £10,000 of revenue as a result of being unable to use her laptop and carry out her print design work.”

Solicitor Cliff Culley said his client had been under the influence of drugs at the time of the theft and had little or no recollection of what happened.

The agent said his client was similarly unable to say who had picked him up as Beattie believed he had walked home.

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis, said: “You were clearly walking up and down the train seeing what you could take and by the luck of the draw you took a case with a considerable amount of value.

“The loss to your victim was clearly considerable.

“This is a matter that undoubtedly merits custody and though I will defer sentence, ultimately, that may well be where you will end up.”

He ordered Beattie to return to the court on December 20 and told him to be of good behaviour and bring £225 with him to begin paying compensation.