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Courts in Moray: Drug debt shoplifter jailed

By Ali Morrison

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A prolific shoplifter who also stole cash from a charity collection jar has been sent to prison.

Lauren McAllister targeted half a dozen different stores and supermarkets across Buckie and Elgin over a period of 15 months.

Elgin Sheriff Court was told the defendant was trying to pay off drug debts.

The 34-year-old mainly concentrated on bottles of alcohol as she knew they could be sold on easily.

McAllister's defence solicitor, Matthew O'Neill, stated she began stealing to "keep those who were pressuring her to repay these debts away from her".

Fiscal depute Naomi Duffy-Welsh read out a long list of offences to which McAllister had pleaded guilty.

These began on February 5, 2020, when she smashed a window at the Original Factory Shop in Buckie during an attempted break-in.

A week later she emptied £190 from the till at the Craigenroan Bar in Great Eastern Road, plus a further £100 from a charity collection jar.

On three different occasions between May 5 and May 30, 2020, she stole £140 of alcohol from the Co-op on East Church Street in Buckie.

During October 19 she was spotted on CCTV within the delivery area behind the branch.

Then, on October 25, she returned and stole five bottles of whisky worth £187.

McAllister had already taken a couple of bottles of whisky with a combined price of £74 from the Elgin branch of Tesco on October 7.

She then returned to the same Elgin supermarket on December 2 and stole several bottles of vodka worth £154.

Entering 2021, McAllister turned her attentions to the Scotmid on Milton Drive, Buckie, taking three bottles of whisky and two bottles of vodka worth £142.50 on January 9.

Next, on May 29, she stole alcohol from the Tesco on Buckie High Street

This was a breach of a condition of bail earlier imposed that she didn't enter that supermarket.

The same day, she visited the Elgin branch of Aldi where she stole alcohol, nappies, baby wipes crisps and sweets.

Finally, on May 30, she was back shoplifting more alcohol from the Tesco branch on Buckie High Street.

McAllister, whose address was given in court papers as Bryson Crescent, Buckie, pleaded guilty to a total of 13 offences.

Stating that the defendant had not co-operated with previous drug testing orders or community-based punishments, Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood sentenced her to 10 months in prison.

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