Television thief targeted dementia patient in her Motherwell home twice

A thief targeted an elderly dementia sufferer’s Motherwell home two days in a row, stealing a television each time.

Serial offender Mark Mills was eventually caught after trying to sell stolen items at Cash Generators.

Mills, 25, a prisoner, was jailed for 18 months at Hamilton Sheriff Court. He admitted stealing from the 88-year-old’s home in Jerviston Road, Motherwell, on May 27 and 28 while already on bail for other matters.

He also admitted swiping computer consoles and games after breaking into a house in nearby Hillhead Drive on May 30.

Scott King, prosecuting, said the OAP targeted by Mills suffers from chronic dementia and has no memory of the thefts.

A carer left the old woman’s house at 10.55am on May 27 and Mills approached a few minutes later.

The prosecutor said: “He knocked on the front door and then, after standing for some time, opened the door which was insecure.

“He entered a bedroom and removed a TV. It’s not known where the occupier was at this point, but she was within the property.

“At 6pm the complainer’s daughter arrived and noticed the TV was missing from the bedroom. The police were contacted.

“At 2.15pm the next day the accused again went to the property and knocked on the front door and the bedroom window.

“Then he went to the side of the house and entered through a door there.On this occasion he removed a TV from the living room.

“A short time later the victim’s daughter arrived and found her mother visibly upset and shaking.

“She was able to tell her daughter that the male from the day before had returned and asked to be let in to use the toilet. The police were again contacted.”

Mr King said enquiries took police to Cash Generators where they found Mills had sold one of the TVs for £130 - less than half its value. The other TV was not recovered.

Mills had also sold items that he’d stolen from the house in Hillhead Drive.

Defence agent Ian Scott said Mills has “struggled with addictions” for most of his adult life.

He told Sheriff Shiona Waldron: “This is, admittedly, an escalation in his offending.

“He’s embarrassed by this turn of events and wanted to plead guilty to save witnesses coming to court.

“He wished no harm on the persons involved.”

But the sheriff said: “He can be sure that his conduct has caused harm to these people who will no longer feel safe in their homes, particularly the elderly lady with dementia.”

Mills was jailed for 18 months, reduced from two years because of his guilty plea, and backdated to June 10.

Sheriff Waldron told him: “You might well consider while serving this period how your life is panning out.

“Repetition of this sort of offending will simply lead to more and more custodial sentences. The only person who can alter that is you.”