Man jailed for stealing Hayfield centre Christmas cash

The Hayfield Community Centre was targeted.
The Hayfield Community Centre was targeted.

A Kirkcaldy community centre was targeted by a thief after a charity event was held there in the run-up to Christmas.

Money raised for good causes was stolen along with computer equipment by Michael Wilson, who wanted the cash to feed his drug addiction.

He removed the hard drive from a CCTV device but then threw it away in the street. It was found and given to police, helping to identify Wilson as the culprit. He had only been released from jail a few days before.

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Michael Wilson (39) currently a prisoner at Perth, appeared in the dock at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

He admitted that on December 3 he broke into Hayfield Community Centre, Hayfield Road, Kirkcaldy, and stole a quantity of computer equipment and a sum of money.

He also admitted that on December 8 at Co-op, Lauder Road, Kirkcaldy, and stole a quantity of groceries.

Depute fiscal Ron Hay said a charity event had been held at the community centre just before the break-in and the proceeds had been locked in a filing cabinet.

The premises had been secured at 1pm on December 2 but the following morning a staff member arrived at 6.30am and found a door unlocked.

It appeared that a fire door had been jemmied open and the thief had stolen two laptop computers, each valued at £500, as well as £600 in cash.

The hard drive of a CCTV recording device had also been removed.

Later, this hard drive was found on a pavement two streets away by a member of the public who was aware of the break-in.

She handed it in to the police and although the drive was water damaged, officers were able to view video from the time of the break-in.

It showed Wilson walking down a lane next to the centre at 12.08am and then hiding behind bins as vehicles passed.

He then walked towards the rear fire exit and at 12.35am the video ended with the hard drive being removed.

Defence solicitor David Bell admitted his client had a “significant record of similar offending”.

He said Wilson had a history of drug misuse and at the time of these offences was taking heroin and crack cocaine.

“He was trying to raise funds to pay for this addiction,” he added. “Having gone to the trouble of taking the hard drive it was then found abandoned on a path, which was not the smartest move and perhaps an indication of his condition at the time.”

Wilson had only been released from jail in November.

Sheriff Pino di Emidio jailed Wilson for 22 months backdated to 16 th December when he was taken into custody.

Police in Fife today praised the sentence, saying that Wilson had targeted the centre due to the fundraising that had gone on.

Detective Sergeant Samantha Davidson from Fife CID said: "Michael Wilson intentionally targeted the Hayfield Community Centre over the festive period, as he knew they had held a fundraising event and that cash and valuables were within.

"His actions could have resulted in many good causes going without the much-needed cash that had been raised, were it not for the outstanding community spirit from those within Kirkcaldy and other areas of Fife, who made extra donations to replace what had been stolen.

"Acquisitive crime will not be tolerated and, as part of the ongoing Operation Principle, we will continue to look to bring those responsible for offences of this nature to justice."