Church theft woman avoids prison sen­tence

Campbeltown Courier - - NEWS -

A woman who stole from a church which sup­ported her re­cov­ery from drug ad­dic­tion has been spared jail. Mar­garet Sar­gent, 44, of Flat 5, Dal­in­to­ber House, Camp­bel­town, pleaded guilty in Novem­ber to steal­ing a money box con­tain­ing £358.22, a mo­bile phone, a jar of cof­fee and two boxes of ta­ble ten­nis balls from Camp­bel­town’s Free Church on Oc­to­ber 23. Last month, the court heard that, since 2014, Sar­gent, who has a record of pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions, has at­tended the Free Church where she was wel­comed and given help and guid­ance. Trust was built and even­tu­ally Sar­gent was given ac­cess to the Ge­orge Street build­ing. Of­fi­cers, who found a pink stick-on fin­ger­nail ly­ing where the money had been, searched Sar­gent’s house be­cause they knew she had ac­cess to the church. They found four other pink stick-on nails in Sar­gent’s house. Her over­all po­si­tion was that she stole the items as she had a drug debt to pay. The church’s min­is­ter and an el­der were in court to sup­port Sar­gent as she was sen­tenced. De­fence agent Stephen MacS­por­ran said: ‘It has caused her con­sid­er­able shame and she has shown re­morse. ‘She re­alises she has bro­ken the trust of those who tried to help her.’ Ad­dress­ing Sar­gent, Sher­iff Pa­trick Hughes said: ‘This money was at the church as a sym­bol of gen­eros­ity, to help oth­ers, to im­prove the lives of oth­ers. ‘Your be­hav­iour was ut­terly self­ish and mean-spir­ited.’ As a di­rect al­ter­na­tive to cus­tody, Sher­iff Hughes or­dered Sar­gent to carry out 200 hours of un­paid work within a year, re­main­ing un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the so­cial work de­part­ment dur­ing that time. Sar­gent was also placed on a tag for four months and must re­main in her house from 7pm un­til 7am. Sher­iff Hughes added that if there is any breach of the or­ders, Sar­gent will be sent to prison.

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