Dundee man, 21, broke in to nine premises to fund ‘pipe dream’ of becoming an architect

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Shane Reilly

A man who went on an £8,000 break-in rampage in a bid to fund his “pipe dream” of becoming an architect was today locked up.

Shane Reilly took part in nine break-ins across Dundee in the space of just three weeks with a gang of associates.

His lawyer today claimed the crook wanted to become an architect and had started a college course in August to set him on that path – but wasn’t eligible for bursaries or student loans.

So to fund his studies he turned to crime – targeting shops and takeaways after they shut for the night in an attempt to raise cash to pay his fees.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court: “From September 29 to October 22 there has been a series of thefts by housebreaking at commercial premises predominately in the Charleston and Menzieshill areas of Dundee.

“CCTV revealed there was a group of males committing these offences.

“After reviewing CCTV evidence the accused was identified and a search warrant for his address was granted.

“A search took place and stolen property was recovered along with clothing and tools.

“A cap recovered was identified as being the one worn by the accused and stolen property from Tesco and Paperchase was recovered from within the accused’s home.”

Miss Robertson said the gang had targeted Paperchase Wholesale in Dundee’s Wester Gourdie industrial estate twice in the space of 24 hours.

A week later they broke into the Tesco superstore in the city’s South Road – smashing their way in through a fire door near the electrical aisle and making off with cash and electrical items.

Just two days later they went back to the same store and smashed their way in through another fire door and stole £2,000 worth of items.

Reilly, 21, of Orleans Place, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to nine charges of theft by housebreaking.

Solicitor advocate Kris Gilmartin, defending, said: “It may be a pipe dream but his goal is to become an architect.

“I appreciate it may sound like I am giving a plea in mitigation for a 14 or 15-year-old but that’s how he presents in some respects.

“He enrolled in college in August and was shortly after told he had to pay the monies due or he could no longer continue his course.

“Had he at that time taken advice he could probably have been entitled to financial assistance.

“But he instead became involved in these offences.

“This was a spate of fairly serious offending.

“The premises were targeted because they knew there would be nobody in them.”

Sheriff Alastair Brown deferred sentence until January 8 for social work background reports and remanded Reilly in custody meantime.

He said: “I can see at present no basis in which I can avoid imposing a significant prison sentence.”