A man was caught on CCTV breaking into an Aberdeen bar, using cutlery to force open tills – and then stopping to enjoy a bottle of wine.
Lee Paterson, 31, broke into the Revolution bar on Belmont Street while the venue was closed due to Covid-19, and fled with boxes of wine and champagne worth £200.
And the 31-year-old later, after being arrested in relation to another offence, told cops he had coronavirus symptoms and coughed into the face of one officer.
Fiscal depute Christy Ward told Aberdeen Sheriff Court a manager at the bar received a call to inform him an alarm had been activated at Revolution at 6.45am on August 20.
When he got there he saw that entry to the bar had been forced. On checking CCTV he saw Paterson and an unidentified man making their way in to the premises just before 6.30am.
Ms Ward said: “They are seen to use cutlery to force open the tills, however, due to the locus being closed no money was being kept in them.
“They went behind the bar and drank from a bottle of wine, which they left on a table.
“The accused and the unidentified male then went to the second floor and took a box of wine and a box of champagne before leaving.”
Ms Ward said the damage to the entrance cost around £200 to repair, with the stolen booze costing another £200.
In an earlier incident, Paterson broke into a ground floor flat on Rosebank Place, Aberdeen, on August 10, stealing a guitar, laptop, iPad, Xbox controller and cash worth a total of £2,420.
He was caught after DNA analysis matched blood found on the kitchen door frame to him.
On August 27 Paterson was spotted riding a stolen motorbike on Froghall Road and Elmbank Terrace and elsewhere in the city while disqualified and uninsured.
When he was arrested in connection with that matter and taken to Kittybrewster station Paterson where he told officers he had Covid-19 symptoms and was asked to wear a mask.
Ms Ward said: “At about 1.35am the accused removed his mask and coughed in the face of a constable, who was wearing full PPE.”
Paterson pled guilty to two charges of theft by housebreaking, reset of the stolen motorbike, driving while disqualified and without insurance, and behaving in a threatening or abusive manner.
Defence agent Paul Barnett said his client had a “troubled background” and a “traumatic childhood” and had difficulties with drug and alcohol misuse.
He told the court Paterson had his first criminal conviction aged 15 and his first custodial sentence aged 17.
The solicitor said: “By the time these offences were committed he had spiralled out of control. He does hugely regret all of the offences.
“He accepts his behaviour was hugely unpleasant and wishes to publicly apologise to the police officer for any upset or alarm caused by his behaviour, and equally wishes to apologise to the owners of the flat and the bar and to the owner of the motorbike.”
Sheriff William Summers deferred sentence on Paterson, a prisoner of HMP Grampian, until January for reports.
Speaking after the hearing, Inspector Stephen Robertson said: “Emergency service workers are playing a vital role in the response to the pandemic and the collective effort to protect the NHS and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.
“Attacks on our officers and staff, or our colleagues in other emergency services, are outrageous and disgraceful.
“Abuse and assault is not simply part of the job for police officers and staff and will not be tolerated. The chief constable has made it clear that this is completely unacceptable and he has committed to reducing the impact of violence and improving the safety of officers and staff.
“Threatening a member of Police Scotland personnel, or any other emergency service worker, while they are carrying out their duties to keep the public safe will result in immediate arrest.”