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'Fagin' figure used drugs to persuade Wick woman to steal

By Court Reporter

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Wick Sheriff Court.
Wick Sheriff Court.

A woman who wheeled trolley loads of goods from a local store without paying was the victim of a 'Fagin' figure who coerced her to commit the thefts in exchange for drugs.

However, Sheriff Mark Lindsay showed Robyn Miller sympathy under "exceptional circumstances" and admonished her.

Miller (29), from Wick, had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of theft from the B&M store in Wick last year and admitted a previous record of offending.

The first offence occurred on December 2 when staff observed Miller leaving the store with a trolley load of electric blankets and toys, which had not been paid for.

The second theft took place on December 8, said Fiscal Depute Grant McLennan, when staff again observed Miller loading electrical and kitchen appliances into bags which were then wheeled outside and put into a taxi.

Both incidents were recorded on CCTV.

The overall cost of the shoplifting items was £400.

It was solicitor Fiona MacDonald who referred to the "Fagin" who was waiting to take charge of the trolley loads, "the minute the accused came out of the supermarket door."

On the second occasion this individual took Miller to the store in a taxi.

The stolen goods were loaded and the car took her to "Fagin's" home.

Miss MacDonald agreed with Sheriff Lindsay that the man had supplied Miller with drugs in exchange for her carrying out the thefts – the accused being his "unfortunate victim".

Miss MacDonald added: "The last I heard, this person (Fagin) no longer had a hold of her.

"She is no shrinking violet but all she wants is to get out of Wick and start a new life with her son in Aberdeen."

Sherrif Lindsay said that Miller's circumstances were "fairly exceptional" and made the point that to continue the case would run the risk of another "Fagin" appearing on the scene.

He said that a compensation order would not be appropriate as the accused had received no financial benefit from the thefts and had "acted on the instructions of a third person."

Passing sentence, Sheriff Lindsay told Miller: "Given the fairly exceptional circumstances, the court can exercise clemency and justify a fairly exceptional disposal of the case by admonishing you on both charges."

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