A crook caught red-handed repainting stolen cars and sanding off their ID numbers using tools he had stolen did it “because he wanted to start his own legitimate motoring business”, a court heard.
Thomas Jamieson’s lawyer claimed he “may actually have improved” the look of the stolen Land Rovers - even though their owners “may not think he’s done them a favour”.
Nonetheless he was jailed for two-and-a-half years for the illicit enterprise at Dundee Sheriff Court today (Tuesday).
The court was told Jamieson and an associate wanted to start their own car repair business.
To that end Jamieson hired a lock up in Jamphlars Road, Cardenden, as premises for the enterprises.
But, lacking any tools to actually carry out work, he went to Castleblair Motors in nearby Dunfermline and broke in to steal £11,000 worth of high-end tools and diagnostic machines.
Two Land Rovers - stolen from a home in Edinburgh’s Marchmont Crescent and from a garage in Kinross - were then brought to the site by Jamieson’s associate.
Knowing full well they were stolen, the crook set about repainting the two cars and sanded off the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) from inside the chassis.
Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told the court that when police raided the lock-up Jamieson was using on May 5 this year they caught him in the act of sanding off one of the VIN numbers.
She said: “The total value of the tools stolen from the garage was £11,200 and the damage caused to shutters in the break in was £500.
She added: “A search also found him in possession of £2817 in cash.”
Jamieson (33) a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to two charges of reset, one of theft by housebreaking and two of attempting to deafeat the ends of justice committed between April 10 and May 5 this year.
Defence solicitor David Bell said: “He says that the condition of the vehicles paintwork was not particularly good - and I’m not suggesting he’s done them a favour - but it may have actually improved the appearance through the work he has done.
“He had been endeavouring to stick to the straight and narrow and had been in contact with an acquaintance.
“He has some skill and knowledge in relation to motor vehicles - as does his acquaintance - and he wanted to have a legitimate business.
“His position is he didn’t steal the vehicles but that a third party produced them for him and he was aware they were not legitimate.
“He wanted to start up a business but had no capital.
“He stole the tools from another motor trader in an effort to use them as he had no equipment to get up and running.”
Sheriff Ian Anderson jailed Jamieson for a total of 30 months and said: “I’m satisfied that this was a calculated course of offending.”
“It looks like a planned course of dishonesty.”