Mar 23 2011 By Our Court Reporter
Airdrie Sheriff Court
A SHOPLIFTER with a “terrible” criminal record avoided a prison sentence after stealing groceries from two Airdrie stores.
Alanna Baird (27) of Howletnest Road, Craigneuk, Airdrie, admitted the theft of goods worth £44.67 from Tesco Express in High Street on February 24 and items worth £29.97 from Morrisons supermarket on March 2.
Baird was remanded for the second offence, which was carried out while on bail, and appeared from custody before Sheriff Frank Pieri at Airdrie Sheriff Court last Wednesday.
Defence counsel Michael Gallagher spoke of his client’s problems with drink and drugs but said there was evidence she was making progress in a bid to get her life in order.
Referring to a background report, he said: “There has been a lengthy issue with the misuse of illicit drugs and alcohol.
“I understand that Ms Baird was under the influence of drugs at the time of the offences.
“She was released from a custodial sentence in June last year and has taken considerable steps to get her life back on track.”
Mr Gallagher spoke of the accused’s recent difficulties and the lapse which led to her shoplifting.
He asked Sheriff Pieri to look at alternatives to imprisonment for his client.
“The two offences were almost a cry for help to get back on a methadone prescription,” he said.
“I would urge a community-based disposal. She is extremely fearful about a return to custody. She now has her own tenancy and says that on release she would be rendered homeless.”
Sheriff Pieri was persuaded by Mr Gallagher’s representation and decided not to jail Baird.
He said: “You have a terrible record for this sort of thing.
“However there are signs in the report that you have been making an effort to sort things out.”
Baird was then ordered to carry out 100 hours community service for each complaint. She must carry out a total of 200 hours unpaid work within a period of nine months.
Before she was allowed to leave the dock, Sheriff Pieri reminded Baird that the threat of a jail sentence still hangs over her.
He warned: “This is a direct alternative to custody so if you breach the order I can bring you back here and deal with the matter as if I had never made the order in the first place.
“In your case, given your record, there would only be one outcome.”