A geriatric crook who took his 76-year-old wife and their daughter on regular shoplifting trips admitted a string of crimes yesterday.
George Keen, 76, admitted being responsible for a spate of shoplifting offences over several months along with his daughter Lesley Whyte, 50.
His wife Mary Keen had also been charged by police with a series of shoplifting offences but the case against her was dropped yesterday by the Crown as part of a plea deal.
Perth Sheriff Court heard how Keen made repeated visits to Perth to steal items from a number of city centre stores, including a kimono.
He and Whyte – who has convictions for nearly 20 previous shoplifting offences across Scotland – admitted seven charges each between October last year and March.
Sheriff Kevin Veal, clearly shocked by the age of the accused, said: “He is almost 77! He is even beyond the Biblical three score years and ten.
“My concern here is that this was shoplifting from six different stores and it is an offence of some significance because of the number of stores involved.”
Solicitor Billy Boyle, defending, said that Keen and Whyte admitted their guilt but that the Crown had agreed to accept not guilty pleas to all charges from the pensioner’s wife.
Silver-haired Keen, who was tanned and wearing glasses, had sentence deferred along with Whyte for the preparation of social background reports.
Keen and Whyte started their shoplifting spree by stealing a quantity of perfume from Debenhams on Perth High Street on 25 October 2014.
They returned to the store on 14 March and carried out an identical crime before returning to Perth a week later and targeting five other stores in a day.
Keen, from Larchfield Gardens, and Whyte, St Leonard Terrace, all Dundee, stolen a pair of jeans and a top from River Island in the St John’s Shopping Centre.
They stole a quantity of groceries from Poundland and a variety of items from Claire’s Accessories within the same shopping centre.
They also stole a pair of tights and a pair of shoes from Primark on the High Street, before taking a kimono from Loretta’s Collections in Murray Street.
At the time of their arrest, a Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that a 76-year-old man, a 75-year-old woman and a 50-year-old woman were charged in connection with shoplifting offences in Perth.”
As they left court they changed clothes, turned their collars up and put on hats in a desperate bid to avoid having their photograph taken.
Whyte has shoplifting convictions dating back to 1998 and has had cases dealt with in Dundee, Kirkcaldy and Stirling.
A police source said: “We couldn’t believe it at first when we got reports about this elderly couple and the third woman who was with them.
“The old couple were quite smartly dressed and looked like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth. They looked like they were about to set off on a Saga holiday.
“But when we watched them and saw them on CCTV it became clear that this was a professional shoplifting operation. Their appearance was the perfect cover as shop workers would never suspect them.”