A SHOPLIFTER caught trying to steal almost £1,500 worth of perfume from a Dunfermline store said he wanted to go back home to Romania.

Instead, Stefan Petrescu has been jailed for eight months for his botched thieving operation.

The 24-year-old ran from the shop into the street with two others but was pursued and caught by security officers.

Petrescu, who only arrived in Scotland from his native Romania a month earlier, was part of a three-man crime gang which travelled from Dundee and targeted the Debenhams store in Dunfermline.

Bottles of perfume were lifted from shelves and placed into a foil-lined bag inside a backpack Petrescu was wearing.

However, when the thieves realised they had been spotted by security staff they ran out of the store.

Petrescu was caught as he ran down the street and appeared from custody at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

It was his second court appearance in his first month in Scotland.

Petrescu, of Dundonald Street, Dundee, previously admitted that on November 2 at Debenhams in the Kingsgate Shopping Centre, he stole a quantity of fragrance.

Petrescu, who speaks no English, appeared in the dock with a translator.

Depute fiscal Dev Kapadia previously told the court: “The value of the goods was £1,466. The accused was equipped with a foil-lined bag and was with two other males.

“They proceeded to lift the perfume bottles from the open shelves and place them in a backpack worn by the accused.

“When they realised they were being watched, they started walking towards the exit to Carnegie Drive. The accused left the large backpack near the exit.

“There were a number of security officers on their way to the scene. The three men kept their heads down, avoiding eye contact with the centre’s staff.

“One of them screamed something in a foreign language and all three started running out of the shopping centre and into Carnegie Drive.

“The accused was caught by two of the security staff and apprehended. The backpack was found to contain 15 bottles of perfume in a foil-lined bag.”

Defence solicitor Elaine Buist had told the court that having been held in prison following the incident, her client wanted to go back to Romania.

Sheriff Craig McSherry jailed Petrescu for eight months, backdated to November 5 when he was taken into custody.