Paper trail leads a shopkeeper to court

Victoria Road Newsagent owner Moses Lawrence is relieved that the store thief has been caught.Picture Richard Ponter 123740a
Victoria Road Newsagent owner Moses Lawrence is relieved that the store thief has been caught.Picture Richard Ponter 123740a

On a warm August morning, newsagent Peter McLachlan arrives at the crack of dawn to collect the papers for his shop.

However, rather than pick up his own stock, McLachlan is actually carrying out a daylight raid on a rival store, only yards from his own shop in Hanover Road.

Victoria Road Newsagent theft caught on cctv.

Victoria Road Newsagent theft caught on cctv.

Throughout the thefts 33-year-old McLachlan was unaware that his illegal actions were being watched all along by the man that he was stealing from.

As a result, he now has a criminal record, after pleading guilty to two counts of theft at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday.

Speaking at his Victoria Road shop following the hearing, victim Moses Lawrence told The Scarborough News that he feels justice has been served.

Mr Lawrence, 38, who has owned the Taryn convenience store for more than two years, said: “The stolen papers were worth about £150 each time, so I told the police that it had to be somebody working in a newsagents – no normal person needs that many papers.

Victoria Road Newsagent thief caught on cctv.

Victoria Road Newsagent thief caught on cctv.

“All the shops here have been around many years, and are trustworthy, but he had only been around a very short time.

“I told the police, but they said that I needed more proof before they could do anything about it.”

The thefts started in May, and were always carried out on the same days.

Noticing this, Mr Lawrence installed a small CCTV camera outside his store in the hope of catching the culprit.

And within days of installing the camera, his suspicions were confirmed.

In the video, McLachlan can be seen shuffling down to the paper delivery point, before disappearing from site from the camera.

He then emerges with a chunky bundle of papers and magazines in hand.

He checks to see if he has been spotted, before fleeing the scene of the crime.

Mr Lawrence said he has estimated the swiped paper deliveries have cost his business around £750 altogether.

McLachlan’s store is no longer in business, and Mr Lawrence added: “His business might not have doing well and I sympathise with him, but his name is now shamed, he has a criminal record and this will have a big impact on his life.”

McLachlan, of Church Stairs Street, received a 12 month community order, sentenced to 80 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £150 in compensation and £85 in court costs.