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Highland sheriff takes pity on man who stole alcohol to try to get warm after becoming homeless due to Brexit-related difficulties

By Ali Morrison

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Inverness Justice Centre.
Inverness Justice Centre.

An east European who has lived in this country for 16 years was made homeless by his landlord because Brexit meant he had difficulty attaining status to live in the UK.

But a sheriff took pity on Arkadiusz Lajdecki (49), who had been remanded in custody since December 13 because he had no fixed abode, and admonished him on a shoplifting offence. He admitted the theft of a bottle of alcohol on December 10 from Home Bargains in Inverness worth £5.25.

His solicitor John MacColl said his client’s was “a very sorry story” and relayed Lajdecki’s tale to Sheriff Sara Matheson at Inverness Sheriff Court.

Mr MacColl said: “He has been in Inverness for the last 16 years and worked in the hospitality sector. His difficulties arose through no fault of his own after the decision was made to come out of the European Union.

“He and a good number of others had difficulty securing their status. About a month ago, because his status was unresolved, his landlord required him to leave his tenancy.

“He has been homeless since then and was sleeping rough. He was very cold and stole a bottle of Schnapps and drank it to try and get warm. If he is liberated today, I have told him he should attend at the council building to try and secure accommodation.”

Mr MacColl added that the court’s interpreter had offered to help Lajdecki with that and attaining status.

Freeing Lajdecki, Sheriff Matheson told him: “I am sorry about the situation that you find yourself. In light of the time you have spent in custody, you will be admonished.”

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