Woman ran up £500 bill on stolen telephone handset

AN ELGIN WOMAN ran up a £500 telephone bill – after stealing a portable handset from a vulnerable neighbour.

Alyssa MacDonald appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court this week after she had admitted being responsible for surprisingly high bills that her Morrison Road neighbour had received.

The court heard that the 36-year-old found excuses over a period of several months to visit the neighbour so that she could steal her handset to make personal calls.

Fiscal depute Ruairidh McAlister told Sheriff John Rafferty that the complainer had noticed one of her handsets was going missing – and several times the accused helped her to look for it, and when that happened found it very quickly.

A quarterly bill of over £500 heightened suspicions as it was well over the £50 that would normally be expected, the court was told. MacDonald then admitted taking the phone when she overheard her neighbour discussing the bill with her daughter.

Police were called and MacDonald was charged with repeatedly stealing the handset between August and November last year.

In MacDonald’s defence solicitor James MacKay said she had repaid £100 with the promise of more.

Deferring sentence on MacDonald until September 24 to allow her time to repay her neighbour, Sheriff Rafferty said that her offence was “shockingly mean, nasty and calculated”, but accepted that there was some move towards restitution.