A man has been warned he faces a “lengthy custodial sentence” after breaking into an Aberdeen court building and “wandering” around for 20 minutes.
Ian Gray forced open three secure doors at the Aberdeen Sheriff Court Annexe building, which is normally used to host high court and sheriff and jury trials.
The 39-year-old was seen on CCTV making his way around the building, looking behind the reception desk and even going through drawers of stationary in an office used by the Procurator Fiscal Service.
Following the unusual break-in Gray left empty-handed, but went on to target the Carmalite hotel nearby just days later and make off with Prosecco and a pair of headphones.
Yesterday Gray appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court via video-link from HMP Grampian and pled guilty over both incidents.
Fiscal depute Felicity Merson told the court: “There had been no business taking place at Aberdeen Sheriff Court Annexe on Friday August 21.
“Around 2.30pm that day the maintenance engineer for the property attended to lock and secure the building and set the alarm as he left.
“On returning to the building at 7am on Monday August 24 he noted that the alarm had been triggered.
“He contacted the security officer for the building who attended and they searched the building.
“Nobody was within. They did, however, find various items which were out of place throughout the premises and both formed the opinion that someone had been within the locus.
“The accused had forced three secure doors.
“On the first floor, a magnetically locked door which can only be opened by a key card leads the rear stairwell. Damage was observed to the frame and lock.
“On the ground floor the side door onto a lane had also been forced but was not damaged.
“The Procurator Fiscal Service has a small office within the building. A footprint was seen on the door to that office. The door did not open using the key card but did open when pushed, the lock having been damaged.
“Within the office, various drawers which contained stationery items had been opened.
“CCTV showed the accused access the building by the Marischal Street entrance at 10.40pm on Friday August 21.
“He wandered throughout the building, spending time looking behind the reception desk area.
“He left the building at 11pm.
“Police were able to identify the accused from the CCTV.”
At 3.10am on Monday August 24 Gray forced open a door at the Carmalite Hotel on Stirling Street.
He stole 12 bottles of Prosecco and other sparkling alcohol worth £260, as well as a £45 pair of headphones. He also made “a number of failed attempts to open the till before leaving the building”.
Gray was traced by police the following day and arrested. He told officers he was unaware of his movements at the time of the offences due to his level of “intoxication”.
Gray pled guilty to charges of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft by housebreaking.
Defence lawyer Stuart Beveridge said his client had a “history of substance misuse”.
Sheriff Graeme Napier told Gray, a prisoner of HMP Grampian: “You’re facing a lengthy custodial sentence.
“The only other option I can see if whether you might be suitable for a drug treatment and testing order (DTTO).
“To assess that you’re going to have to stay in custody until I can get a report from criminal justice social work, and then I consider whether a DTTO might be an option. If not, you’re looking at a lengthy custodial sentence.”
Sentence was deferred until next month.