Hawick mill shop thief spared a prison sentence

A Hawick man who stole clothing during two break-ins at a local luxury cashmere mill has been spared a prison sentence.

By Kevin Janiak
Monday, 15th March 2021, 5:24 pm
Johnstons of Elgin in Hawick. Photo: Bill McBurnie.
Johnstons of Elgin in Hawick. Photo: Bill McBurnie.

Sheriff Peter Paterson told 51-year-old Robert Reilly he could have expected a jail terms for the raids on the Johnstons of Elgin shop in the Eastfield Mills visitor centre.

But since the break-ins within the space of three days in October 2019, Reilly had demonstrated he could be of good behaviour and had adhered to a night-time curfew at his home in Wilson Drive.

Sheriff Paterson said there had been a significant delay in the case coming before the court for sentence and Reilly had taken advantage of the opportunity by being of good behaviour.

Depute fiscal Miriam Clark told Jedburgh Sheriff Court that £3,000 worth of jumpers and jackets were stolen in the first break-in on October 14, 2019, when a brick was used to smash the display window but there was a recovery of £2,500 worth of the items.

In the next break-in Reilly stole items to the value of £2,500 and £2,000 worth of garments were recovered.

She said that at 1a.m. on Monday, October 14, 2019, an alarm company called the caretaker to say that the alarm had been activated at the shop premises.

He attended within five minutes and saw a smashed window and then contacted the police.

Ms Clark said:"He reviewed the footage and saw the accused smashing the window and taking a number of items from the window display and had filled shopping bags with jumpers.

"He also observed that a brick had been used to smash the window."

On the evening of Wednesday, October 16, Reilly was again observed at the shop premises and was seen taking clothes and jumping out the window and made off.

Police officers arrived on the scene and found blood-stained clothing which had been discarded.

Reilly's home was visited and although he was not there his partner confirmed he had suffered a cut to his hand but did not know how it happened.

Reilly was also found at another property trying to sell jumpers which had been taken in the raid.

Defernce lawyer Mat Patrick said his client's health had been deteriorating and he would find it difficult to carry out unpaid work.

He continued:"Essentially he has been shielding since the start of the pandemic. He has hardly left the house."

Sheriff Paterson said:"There has been a significant delay in this case coming to court for sentence. If it had been brought before earlier then a custodial sentence would have followed.

"The curfew has worked in this case."

Sheriff Paterson imposed another 10 months home curfew between the hours of 7p.m. and 7a.m. and ordered Reilly to pay £1,000 in compensation to Johnstons of Elgin.