A STRATHEARN man who stole hundreds of pounds from his elderly grandmother to help feed his £140 a week heroin habit was jailed for a total of 10 months at Perth Sheriff Court last week.
The court was told that 24-year-old Michael McNeilage, of Culdees Estate, Muthill, also helped himself to £600 from a Crieff bakery and then £170 by using a stolen bank card to get the Class A drug to satisfy his craving.
But McNeilage’s claim that his parents gave him the drugs cash in a bid to keep him out of trouble was a pack of lies, it was revealed.
In a letter to the court, Duncan and Elaine McNeilage stated there was “no way” they had been funding their son’s drug habit.
Sheriff Lindsay Foulis had expressed astonishment that the couple should be prepared to subsidise his drug taking and said: ““Why can’t they make payments to the bakery and the bank card holder he robbed?”
The McNeilages added in their letter: “As for paying money back to the Tower Bakery and the bank, even if we had the money we would not do this.
“We believe if you do the crime – you should do the time.
“Michael’s illness – because as far as we are concerned that is what it is – does turn people into liars.”
McNeilage pled guilty to stealing £600 from his 77-year-old grandmother’s sheltered accommodation in Duchlage Court, Crieff, on May 3.
The theft from the Tower Bakery happened on May 9 and 10 and the bank card incidents took place at the Bank of Scotland in Galvelmore Street, Crieff, on July 29.
The court was told previously that McNeilage, formerly of Leadenflower Road, Crieff, stole the cash from his grandmother while she was away at a family get-together.
She returned the next day and found the money missing. McNeilage had previously been at the house and suspicion fell on him.
Solicitor Rosie Scott told the court on Wednesday that the accused’s parents were in “no position” to pay back the cash the accused had taken.
They felt it was time he took responsibility for his own actions.
She stressed that they hadn’t given him any money to buy drugs but had assisted him by having him back in the house.
She asked that the Sheriff consider making the accused subject to a Drug Treatment and Assessment Order.
“The accused himself is quite adamant he wants to give up drugs,” she added.
But Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said he wasn’t convinced McNeilage would comply with such an order.
He noted that the accused had told a social worker that his parents had helped fund his drug habit but a letter from them made it quite clear “nothing could be further from the truth.”