Jun 19 2009 by Gregor White, Stirling Observer Friday
A SHERIFF told a former bookie’s employee his explanation for theft was difficult to accept.
Gordon Neilson had worked at the Tote on Drip Road, Stirling for seven years and admitted stealing a hidden camera from the premises on December 9 last year.
Appearing at Stirling Sheriff Court on Wednesday his defence agent, Stephen Maguire, described the matter as a “baffling” reaction by his client on accidentally discovering the equipment which had been secretly placed there after another employee suggested theft was possibly taking place.
Neilson (28) of The Gables, Alloa Road, Cambus had discovered the camera after tidying up at the end of his shift and spotting a hole in the ceiling.
He removed the hard drive from the camera, took it away and disposed of it, eventually admitting to the theft after police were called in.
Mr Maguire said: “Clearly he was the subject of a lengthy interview by officers and ultimately he accepted responsibility for what he did.
“His position is that he had a number of concerns about safety on the premises and had made a number of approaches to management about the installation of CCTV only to be effectively ‘laughed out of court’.
“The fact is that he had been asking repeatedly – for a number of years – for equipment to protect him and other staff.
“His requests had been repeatedly rejected on the grounds that it was too expensive, only for him to then find that an item of equal value had been installed not to protect staff, but to covertly watch them.”
Despite this he admitted Neilson’s reaction had been “disproportionate” and “a complete overreaction”.
Sheriff Andrew Cubie said: “The explanation troubles me somewhat – that his response to discovering a covert camera is to take and dispose of the hard drive rather than take the matter up with management.”
Branding the theft “a gross breach of trust” he added: “I do think this matter would merit a custodial sentence because of that breach of trust but am persuaded, just, on this occasion to deal with it by way of community service as a direct alternative instead.”
Neilson, who lost his job over the incident and hasn’t worked since, was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.