Theft from van ends in 32-month jail term

A Fife man, who was spotted by someone who knew him as he stole from a van, has been jailed for 32 months.

The thief’s identity was quickly passed on to the van owner who then phoned Lee McLaren demanding his property back.

On his way to return the stolen goods, McLaren was caught red-handed by the police.

McLaren (39), currently a prisoner, admitted that on 11th February at New Flockhouse, Lochore, he entered an insecure motor vehicle and stole a quantity of power tools and a satellite navigation system.

He also admitted that on 12th February at Kirkcaldy police station he was in possession of a controlled drug, diamorphine, with intent to supply.

Depute fiscal Alex Piper previously told Dunfermline Sheriff Court the vehicle was parked outside the owner’s home and had been left unlocked by mistake.

At around 6am, a neighbour of the van owner saw McLaren going into the vehicle.

He recognised him and sent a text message to the van owner to tell him what he had seen.

When the man checked his vehicle he saw there were items missing.

He contacted the police but also obtained the McLaren’s phone number and called him.

McLaren was on his way to hand back the stolen goods when he spotted the police had arrived at the scene of the crime.

Police officers stopped him as he walked towards the house with the stolen power tools in a bag. He said he had “stashed” the navigation system but all the goods, valued at £489, were eventually recovered.

After he was taken to the police station, officers became suspicious of McLaren’s behaviour in a cell and believed he may be concealing drugs.

During a search, a Kinder egg fell to the floor and was found to contain heroin with a value of £1900.

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