Jail for thief who targeted pensioners
A thief who travelled the east of Scotland deliberately targeting elderly and vulnerable victims has been jailed for almost three years.
Paul Nicoll stole from pensioners aged up to 83 in Arbroath, Dundee, Perth and Auchterarder over a four-month period.
Dundee Sheriff Court heard he helped an elderly woman into her house with her shopping before making off with money.
Nicoll's solicitor told the court: "He accepts there is no realistic sentence other than imprisonment."
Depute fiscal Saima Rasheed described a series of incidents that started two days before Christmas last year in Arbroath, where he stole £200 from a man's home.
He stole £40 from a 78-year-old woman in Arbroath in February, before targeting a 70-year-old woman in the town the following day, being found in her home before he could steal anything.
The court was told that Nicoll's spree escalated in April when he was found in the home of a 68-year-old woman in Auchterarder, Perthshire, and that of an 80-year-old woman in Perth on the same day.
A week later he was found in a 68-year-old woman's home in Dundee and on 18 April he stole £560 from an 81-year-old woman in the city.
The court heard that Nicoll stole from another four pensioners during April.
Nicoll, 45, admitted 11 charges of theft and being found in dwelling houses without lawful authority whereby it may be inferred he was there to steal.
Defence solicitor David Duncan said: "He accepts there is no realistic sentence other than imprisonment.
"He knows he has a debt to pay to society."
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael jailed Nicoll for a total of 35 months.
He said: "You accept a custodial sentence is inevitable here. You are correct.
"It seems you deliberately targeted the houses of elderly and vulnerable people.
"The ages of the victims range up to 83.
"You preyed on these people."