South Scotland

Dumfries man put rats in wife's attic


A court has heard how a man whose wife took action to evict him from their Dumfries home retaliated by putting rats in the attic.

Lee Thompson, 42, bought the animals at a pet shop knowing his wife had a phobia about them.

He admitted behaving in a manner likely to cause fear or alarm at the house in Caulstran Road in May last year.

Thompson, of Portling, near Dalbeattie, was fined £710 for the offence at Dumfries Sheriff Court.

The court heard the couple had been married for 12 years but their relationship had broken down prior to the offence.

Ann Thompson then took legal action to have him removed from the house and within hours he went to the pet shop and bought the two rats.

When she returned with a friend to the house they found empty boxes from the pet shop with literature about caring for rats.

Fiscal depute Jennifer McGill said: "The wife has a deep-rooted phobia about rats, which he is well aware of."

'Discovered dead'

It was a few days later that the scuttling was heard from the attic and rat traps were put down in the loft.

Ms McGill said: "The first night one of the rats was found dead in a trap and the following day the other was also discovered dead."

Solicitor Carolyn Priestley said the relationship had now resumed and the couple were back living together and working things out.

She said Thompson, who had been going through a period of ill-health at the time, now realised it had been "a stupid thing to do".

She added that the children of the family had been talking about rats as pets and this was partly why he bought them.

Sheriff Kenneth Robb dismissed the suggestion they had been bought with the children in mind and told Thompson: "This was a nasty piece of behaviour to get back at your wife."

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