Would-be thief with two screwdrivers and rucksack was in Dundee church to ‘bless himself’

Dean Moran
Dean Moran

A drug addict who had two screwdrivers and a rucksack in a church where he planned to steal things told a congregation member he was there to “bless himself”.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard Dean Moran, 47, looked suspicious to congregation members at Our Lady’s Parish Church, Finlarig Terrace, Dundee.

He was jailed for nine weeks after he admitted having the screwdrivers and rucksack, and that it could be interpreted he intended to commit theft.

Fiscal depute Joanne Smith told the court Moran approached the church while congregation members were outside on the morning of August 26.

The fiscal said: “He was wearing a rucksack and was not recognised by the congregation members.

“He walked past them into the church and a few minutes later he was seen leaving the church, still with the rucksack on his back.

“Before leaving he was seen to crouch down and remove the rucksack and it looked as if he was placing something into his rucksack before leaving.”

His presence was deemed “suspicious” by congregation members and one of them followed him and questioned him about why he was there.

Moran replied: “I was only here to bless myself.”

Police were contacted and he was found to have two screwdrivers.

He was arrested and detained at police headquarters, where he refused to come out of his cell for police interview.

Solicitor Scott Norrie said: “He has a record which discloses crimes of dishonesty and has served prison sentences in the past, given his drug issues.

“The rucksack also had items of clothing, CDs, and a watch battery in it, but given his record and the fact he couldn’t give an explanation, he accepts what could have been assumed.

“He says the screwdrivers belonged to his grandfather and that he had been using them to replace a watch battery.”

Moran, of Clifden Blue Court, Dunbar Park, admitted having tools, namely two screwdrivers and a rucksack, and that it could be inferred he intended to commit theft, at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Church, Finlarig Terrace, on August 26.

Sheriff Richard McFarlane jailed Moran for nine weeks.

The sheriff told him: “Your record just gets worse with every conviction.

“There is a token prison sentence available to me and given that this offence took place in a church, a custodial sentence seems appropriate.”