A rampant thief narrowly avoided a jail term – after managing to convince a sheriff that he was turning his life around.
Anthony Elder, 31, last month entered a house in Rockwell Place and stole a wallet while breaching a curfew condition.
The hopeless crook was caught a short time later and was seconds away from being handed a prison sentence at Dundee Sheriff Court.
However, Elder managed to talk his way out of a further stint behind bars after addressing Sheriff George Way via video link.
The court heard that Elder targeted several homes on Rockwell Place on April 14 and was also spotted trying car door handles.
Fiscal depute Tina Dickie said: “The first witness went to bed. They left the front door of their home address unlocked and left a brown wallet sitting on the kitchen table.
“They were awoken at about 2.15am and heard noise that she thought was the front door.
“She searched her house but found nothing suspicious but realised she hadn’t locked her front door.”
Ms Dickie said another resident in the street heard the sound of running outside. They witnessed Elder trying a car door which was parked in the driveway.
Police were contacted and officers found Elder in West Court in possession of a brown wallet with its contents still in tact.
Elder, of Stirling Street, appeared for a deferred sentence after previously admitting breaching his curfew, stealing the wallet from a property and being found elsewhere in the area where it could be inferred that he intended to commit theft.
Defence solicitor Doug McConnell conceded that Elder had a “formidable” record which was primarily fuelled by alcohol.
Mr McConnell added that prior to being remanded, Elder had been receiving the support from social workers and mentors.
He said: “He is no great thief in that he is caught a lot.
“When he’s sober he knows exactly what he should do to get himself back on track. He has a structure in place at the present time.
“He comes out clean to a position to not take alcohol and with the curfew conditions still in place.”
Sheriff Way said he was simply inclined to jail Elder for the offences. However, Elder raised his hand to address the sheriff and said: “For the first time in over 10 years, I’m not in a hostel. I’m in supported accommodation with a concierge.
“At the time the Covid was at its worst and I wasn’t getting support. The alcohol support is working for me. I am asking for one more chance at this.
“I can’t apologise enough for breaching the curfew. I made a mistake, I lost my house key. I made a really, really bad decision.”
Sheriff Way deferred sentence until later this month for a further social work report, saying: “You have persuaded me Mr Elder but it’s going to be a very short rope.
“You so much as sneeze in the wrong direction and you will be going to jail.”