M&S champagne thief caused £1000 worth of damage in escape bid

John McKechnie targeted Marks and Spencer in Perth.

Premises Photograph for Marks and Spencers (ML3 7EL)

A champagne thief was ordered to pay nearly £1500 after he admitted targeting Marks and Spencer.

John McKechnie had already stolen champagne and steak worth hundreds of pounds when he went back to fill up his rucksack a second time.

But he was caught by security staff and caused £1000 worth of damage as he tried to run off and smashed into a glass door.

John McKechnie, 35, of Kirkgate Mews, Perth, admitted stealing five bottles of champagne and nine packets of meat from Marks and Spencer in Perth on August 22.

He also admitted stealing men's clothing from Matalan and breaking a glass door at Marks and Spencer by barging into it on the same day.

Fiscal depute Catherine Fraser told Perth Sheriff Court that store staff spotted McKechnie hiding champagne in his bag during his first visit but he managed to give them the slip.

"They lost the male on camera," she said. "They reviewed CCTV and also observed him concealing nine packets of steak within his bag. The total value was £261.

"Later on that day the accused returned to Marks and Spencer and was identified by store security. Members of staff approached him but he ran off, throwing a bag away."

She added that he caused £1000 when a glass door was smashed.

Solicitor Cliff Culley, defending, said McKechnie was a roughneck who worked on the oil rigs and had been "knocked off the rails" by his mother's death.

He said his client had taken solace in alcohol and had spent 26 days on remand in custody as a result of the incidents in Perth last August.

Sheriff Michael Fletcher fined McKechnie £450 and ordered him to pay £1000 compensation to Marks and Spencer.

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