NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

'Incorrigible' thief Robert Merchant jailed by judge

A "habitual and incorrigible" Aberdeen thief has been jailed after a sheriff referred him to the high court.

Robert Merchant, 42, has been in and out of prison since 1985 for stealing to feed his drug habit.

Sheriff Douglas Cusine decided the maximum sentence he could impose, five years in prison, was not enough for 17 charges against Merchant.

Judge Lord Uist, at the High Court in Edinburgh, jailed Merchant for five years and 10 months.

Lord Uist said: "The only way in which the public can obtain some respite from your criminal activities is by your now being imprisoned for a very long period.

"The victims of your house-breakings must have been affected by what you did."

The judge heard that the value of the goods involved was more than £10,000 and that Merchant's break-ins had also led to damage estimated at £2,500.

"The only thing that can be said in your favour is that you pleaded guilty to these crimes," the judge added.

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