Neighbours fined for stealing sofas and TV

TWO neighbours broke into a friend's house and stole her furniture before a guilty conscience stung them into putting it back, a court was told yesterday.

But returning several days later, householder Rebecca Sheridan noticed her property had been entered and her sofas and television left in different places, so she called the police.

Inquiries revealed Simone Ramage, 25, and Hilda McLauchlan, 34, had been seen taking the items out of the flat in Galashiels, Selkirkshire.

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Details of the bizarre break-in were given at Selkirk Sheriff Court, where the women were fined 100 each.

Ramage's lawyer, Iain Burke, explained that the pair had heard Ms Sheridan was being evicted from the property and they wanted four tops back that they had loaned her. They managed to gain entry through an insecure door.

While inside, McLauchlan decided to take two sofas and Ramage a television.

Mr Burke said they dragged the items back to their homes in the same block of flats in Church Square, but after several hours decided they had done the wrong thing and took them back.

He said: "It was foolish behaviour, but at least they did the decent thing and took the stuff back. But they put it in the wrong places and the householder, who had been away, realised something was wrong and called the police.

"My client bought the householder a bottle of Baileys to say sorry and her apology was accepted."

McLauchlan's lawyer, Graeme Clark, added: "It was a ridiculous expedition."

Both women pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by housebreaking at the flats in Church Square between 7 and 10 March.

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Sheriff Kevin Drummond described their actions as "senseless" and added: "What next — breaking in to do some re-decorating?"