Man stole mother’s bank card in bid to pay off drug debts

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In a bid to pay off drug debts, Colin Brown stole his mother-in-law’s bank card and used it to obtain money.

Brown, 33, of Leishman Place, admitted stealing a debit card from a house in Wellington Court on July 28 last year.

On the same date, he admitted using the card to force open an ATM at Sainsbury’s, Commercial Road, and steal £130.

Brown also admitted using the card to obtain goods worth £4.39 at the store.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser told Jedburgh Sherif Court how the debit card owner reported matters when she discovered that £130 cash had been withdrawn.

“He removed the debit card from his mother-in-law’s house and went to Sainsbury’s where he used it to buy tobacco,” said Mr Fraser.

Police viewed the store’s CCTV and saw the accused accessing the ATM.

“He appeared nervous and was constantly looking around,” added Mr Fraser.

“He said he had put the money towards £500 in drugs debts and said he needed help with a cannabis problem,” concluded Mr Fraser.

Defence solicitor Rory Bannerman conceded his client was “significantly in debt at the time.

“He saw it as a mechanism to pay off his debts,” explained Mr Bannerman. Brown had previously claimed to have repaid the money to his mother-in-law, but Mr Fraser said he had received a letter refuting this.

“He and his wife are adamant that the money has been repaid, but I cannot prove that,” continued Mr Bannerman.

“He was a heavy cannabis user and had a drug debt at the time.

“He has turned his life around since then and stopped using cannabis,” he added.

Mr Bannerman said he could now confirm Brown had repaid the money to his mother-in-law.

Brown was sentenced to a 12-month Community Payback Order, with a condition he completes 160 hours of unpaid work.