Man jailed for stealing £7,200 of equipment from Aberdeen university

Hugh Stewart

A “professional thief” who swiped a haul worth thousands of pounds from an Aberdeen university has been jailed for 30 months.

Hugh Stewart, 35, stole items – mainly projectors – from buildings at the University of Aberdeen, then sold them for a fraction of their worth.

The court heard the goods cost around £7,200.

Stewart was captured on CCTV in the buildings, which are swipe and pin access only after certain times, and on one occasion was seen slipping in behind a student.

He pleaded guilty to stealing a computer and three projectors from the MacRobert Building and Zoology Building.

He also stole a wallet at the university’s library on Bedford Road.

The offences took place between September 9 and 27 last year.

Fiscal depute Christopher Macintosh told the court: “There was some premeditation in the circumstances.”

Speaking of the theft of the computer, he said: “CCTV showed the accused enter the building, slipping in behind a student.”

The footage also showed him putting on rubber gloves and taking a black bag and putting something into it.

Defence agent Iain McGregor said his client had an “extensive record”.

Mr McGregor said that having overcome a heroin addiction, Stewart turned to alcohol and two other drugs after the death of his mother last year.

“He tells me the property was sold on. He was advised the value was around £300-£400,” Mr McGregor added.

The court heard he sold the goods for between £40-£50 each.

Sentencing Stewart, a prisoner of HMP Grampian, to 30 months, Sheriff Jack Brown told him he was a “professional, compulsive thief with a significant and substantial record for similar offences”.

The university declined to comment.