A SERIAL shoplifter recently described by a sheriff as “an invaluable member of the community” has been caught stealing again.

Joan Meiklejohn, 50, of Lumphinnans Road, Lochgelly, appeared back in the dock at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

She admitted that on December 6 at the Co-op, Bank Street, Lochgelly, she stole household goods.

The court was told the goods stolen were worth £47 and there was no recovery.

Defence solicitor Martin McGuire said his client had a long history of difficulties with substance misuse.

Sheriff Francis Gill commented: “She’s got an extremely lengthy record.”

He imposed a fine of £140.

Last August a visiting sheriff was impressed by a social work report on Meiklejohn saying it was one of the most positive he had read.

Sheriff Robert More had commented: “She’s undoubtedly an invaluable member of the community.”

However, a year earlier in another case, Sheriff Alastair Brown told Meiklejohn: “Your record is atrocious. People who run shops are entitled to the protection of the courts.”