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Thief who stole Christmas gifts before heading to Kyle of Lochalsh is jailed

By Ali Morrison

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A THIEF who wrecked a family’s Christmas by stealing their presents and then their car so he could drive home to Kyle of Lochalsh has been jailed for 13 months.

James Joyce, who admitted 39 previous convictions with 24 of them involving jail sentences, had his plea through his lawyer, Roger Webb, for a community-based disposal rejected at Inverness Sheriff Court by Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald.

She told him: “Breaking into a family’s home at Christmas, stealing their presents and then their car because you wanted an easy way to get home is an appalling offence.

“Given the background of your record and that you had just been released from prison, only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”

However, she backdated it to December 12 when he was remanded in custody which means he will be released in approximately a month.

However he will be under social work supervision for a further six months and was warned he would be punished further if he failed to comply.

At a previous hearing, the court was told Joyce had entered a bed and breakfast in Glenurquhart Road, Inverness to commit his “mean and nasty offences” on December 8, 2018.

His haul included a football top, packs of razors and blades, two mobile phones, a pullover, an electric toothbrush and other items, Joyce then stole the family’s father’s vehicle to drive to his home in Kyle of Lochalsh.

Joyce admitted theft, driving while disqualified and without insurance. He was also banned from driving for a year.

Defence solicitor Roger Webb told an earlier hearing that his 35-year-old client had “suffered the humilation of attending his father’s funeral in handcuffs and this was a step change for him”.

“He accepts his offences must have been devastating for the family concerned and knows how he would feel if it happened to him. It is a window of opportunity for him if he gets released into the community. If he doesn’t take it, he will go to prison for a long time.”

He added that Joyce’s mother was also seriously ill, his grandmother had health issues and Joyce was the only person available to care for them.

“He is not seeking to take advantage of the current situation. The police know where he will be living and will be keeping a sharp eye on him. But his father’s death has affected him greatly and he wants his life to change, which it has in recent weeks.”

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