A THIEF from Cowdenbeath stole equipment from a Rosyth hotel then arranged for his friend to return one of the items.

Robert Napier was found with a room key reader soon after leaving the Hillpark Hotel and one of his associates later returned a chip and pin machine which had gone missing at the same time.

Appearing for sentencing at Dunfermline Sheriff Court, Napier, 46, of Blamey Crescent, had previously admitted stealing the two items on June 3 this year.

Depute Fiscal, Azrah Yousaf, said Napier was spotted by a hotel employee looking over the reception counter and doing something with the wires.

After speaking to a colleague, he approached Napier after he had left the premises.

It had been discovered that a bank card machine and a room key card reader were missing and the staff member found this in Napier's waistband but did not recover the bank card machine.

Police were called and Napier was identified when they viewed CCTV.

Solicitor, Alexander Flett, said the bank card machine was returned by an associate of his client.

"Both items were recovered," he said. "I don't think either item had any value to him although there would be an inconvenience to the hotel.

"He has a significant record but his record in recent years is not bad. In fairness to him, the record in recent years tends to suggest that he has made a significant effort to try to reduce consumption of alcohol and other substances, albeit, on occasion, he has struggled.

"He has taken the opportunity to consider the impact his behaviour has had on other people and that has encourage him to keep on the straight and narrow.

"It appears to be opportunistic and stealing something of no value to him. Both of these items would need the relevant software."

Sheriff Charles Macnair placed Napier on a community payback order with supervision for two years. He was also put on a restriction of liberty order for eight months requiring him to remain in his home from 7pm until 7am.

He told him: "You have an appalling record for a variety of offences including dishonesty. I am just prepared to give you a chance but if you breach that order, you will go to custody."