The lookout in a high-value booze raid on an Angus supermarket has escaped a prison sentence.
Vasile Petroche watched as two accomplices loaded more than £800 worth of drink into bags at Forfar’s Asda store in a September 9 swoop on the New Road store.
But the 31-year-old Romanian came close to jail after a sheriff expressed concern over social work reports in which Petroche had attempted to minimise his involvement in the crime.
Depute fiscal Jill Drummond said Petroche, from Royston Road in Glasgow, was not detected at the time of the theft, but the incident was fully captured on CCTV and he was identified from that.
She said the total value of the alcohol stolen was £832.
The accused’s solicitor, Nicola Brown, told the court her client’s role as lookout explained his “apparent abrogation of responsibility in the criminal justice report”.
“At first blush it doesn’t make good reading,” she said.
“He didn’t physically take the alcohol, but I have advised him that his role as lookout makes him as responsible as those who did take it.”
The court heard Petroche had an extensive offending history but his convictions had ended in 2013.
That cessation was down to positive family circumstances but he then suffered tragedy with the death of his wife in an accident just a month before the “catastrophic” Forfar offence.
“It is at that stage that he appears to have gone off the rails again,” added the solicitor.
“He has secured employment in a car wash and is earning money for his family,” she continued.
Sheriff Pino Di Emidio said: “This is a matter of some seriousness and his denial has affected the way this report has been put together.
He told Petroche: “Given your record it is the case that the first thought I had was to imprison you for this matter.
“I am persuaded that I can deal with it by way of an alternative.”
He imposed a one-year Community Payback Order on Petroche, including 140 hours of unpaid work and a supervision condition.