A thief desecrated a war memorial by stripping the plaques honouring the dead from two world wars and trying to sell the bronze for scrap.
Joseph Millar caused thousands of pounds of damage to the recently refurbished memorial that featured the names of the fallen including his own great-grandfather.
He stripped off three plaques weighing around 60 kilos and went with his friend, Wayne Slaven, to try and sell the metal for scrap so they could buy legal highs.
But horrified scrap dealer Mark Stewart immediately recognised what the plaques were and chased the duo from his yard after confiscating them.
On Thursday at Perth Sheriff Court a sheriff told Millar, 43, High Street, Kinross, the public would be repulsed by his crime, as she found him guilty of stealing the plaques in July 2013.
The court was told that Milnathort in Bloom had raised thousands of pounds in charitable donations to restore the Orwell War Memorial in the town.
But within days of the restored memorial being unveiled, three of the large metal plaques listing the town’s scores of war dead had been jemmied off and stolen. Another had been bent in a failed attempt to remove it.
Scrap merchant Mr Stewart told the court Slaven drove into his yard and Millar got out to try and sell the plaques to him. Mr Stewart said: “He asked if I wanted to buy copper. It was bronze plaques, not copper. I thought they were from a war memorial.
“I told them that I was phoning the police, that they were on camera and that I had taken the number of their car.”
Slaven also faced the same theft charge until the morning of the trial when the Crown accepted his not guilty plea and then produced him as a prosecution witness against his friend.
Slaven, 45, from Kinross, said: “I gave Mr Millar a lift with some scrap. He said he would give me some petrol money and a cut of whatever he sold for scrap.”
Graham Stewart, 56, was secretary of Milnathort in Bloom when £2,500 was spent refurbishing the memorial before it was reopened in July 2013. He said the plaques were eventually returned by the police but they and the stone memorial were so badly damaged a further £8,000 had to be spent on repairs.
Millar denied being responsible and blamed Slaven but was found guilty of stealing the plaques from the memorial between July 22 and July 24 2013.
Sheriff Valerie Johnston deferred sentence for reports and told Millar: “You have maintained over two years that you did not steal these plaques but that is because you recognise the horror people would feel over your actions.”