Result for thief who broke into ex-Celt’s home

Joe Ledley in action against Motherwell.
Joe Ledley in action against Motherwell.

A man who broke into the Bothwell home of former Celtic footballer Joe Ledley has avoided jail after a sheriff heard he has stayed out of trouble for three years.

John Black stole football tops and baby clothes from the Welsh international’s house. Previously he had been jailed for a similar raid at the home of former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan in the same upmarket area of Bothwell.

Black (35), of Clyde Avenue, Bothwell, admitted breaking into Mr Ledley’s house in March 2011. The midfielder is now playing in the English Premier League with Crystal Palace after moving south last month.

Defence agent Kevin McCarron argued successfully at Hamilton Sheriff Court last week that his client deserved a chance after staying clear of trouble in recent times.

The case had taken an unusually long time to reach the court and Mr McCarron said: “The individual who appears today and the person who committed this crime are two very different people.”

The solicitor said his client has overcome a ‘horrendous’ drug problem, is now the father of two children and is a carer for his own dad.

Mr McCarron added: “I would suggest he is given a chance to prove this is not a brief turnaround in his life but something permanent. He would be more than willing to do unpaid work.”

Sheriff David Bicket told Black he will be supervised for 18 months and must complete 300 hours of unpaid work within a year, adding: “I’m imposing this direct alternative to custody only because you have stayed out of trouble for three years.”

More from the court in this week’s Times & Speaker, out on Wednesday.