Phone shop raider jailed

Phone Shop owner Jose Gonzalez
Phone Shop owner Jose Gonzalez

A drug addict who stole electronic gadgets worth thousands of pounds from a Motherwell shop has been jailed for 19 months.

Barry McLellan was caught after business owner Jose Gonzalez was tipped off about him. Police found phones, sat navs and games consoles at his home in Vulcan Street, Motherwell.

McLellan (38) appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court today and admitted breaking into Motherwell Phone Shop in Merry Street while on bail for another matter on November 28.

After the raid the Motherwell Times told how a man was selling stolen items at bargain prices in a lane in the town centre. Police warned potential customers not to buy anything as they could end up being charged with handling stolen property.

Mr Gonzalez, who moved to Motherwell from Spain two years ago, described the break-in as “devastating”. He had to use money earmarked for a deposit on a house for himself and pregnant fiancée Lorraine to buy new stock.

Callum Forsyth, prosecuting, said the shop owner arrived on a Monday morning to discover a back window had been smashed. Mobile phones, tablets, games consoles and other items worth around £7500 had been stolen.

Mr Forsyth told the court: “Later that day Mr Gonzalez received information which suggested the accused was responsible and he went to Motherwell police station to pass this on.

“A warrant was granted for the house in Vulcan Street and various items belonging to Mr Gonzalez were recovered. However, the value of these was only £1000, meaning property worth £6500 has not been accounted for.”

Defence agent Stephen MacBride said unemployed McLellan’s record includes shoplifting to fund his drug addiction and breaking into garden sheds.

The solicitor said his client has been on a drug treatment and testing order in a bid to overcome his heroin problem. His methadone dosage has been cut and he hopes soon to be drug-free.

Sheriff Vincent Smith cut the proposed sentence from 28 to 19 months due to McLellan’s early guilty plea and backdated the sentence to November 30 as the accused has been in custody since his arrest.