A WOMAN carried out an armed night-time raid on a Dumbarton refuse centre – in search of a spare part for a vacuum cleaner.

Angela Miller entered the Dalmoak facility under cover of darkness on December 3.

But police driving by the Renton Road facility spotted someone inside the premises – and after the officers made themselves known the 26-year-old gave herself up.

Miller appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court for sentencing after pleading guilty to a charge of being within the centre without lawful authority, in circumstances where it could be reasonably inferred she intended to commit a theft.

At an earlier hearing Miller had also admitted a second charge of being in possession of a knife, which she handed over during a police search at the time of the incident.

A background report was sought from social workers after Miller admitted the two charges against her and she was allowed to walk free from court after the hearing.

Fiscal depute Craig Wainwright told Sheriff Simon Pender: “At 12.40am, police on mobile patrol were driving past the Dalmoak refuse centre when they observed a figure within the premises picking up items from a shipping container.

“Officers made their way in to the centre and made their presence known. The accused exited the shipping container and crawled out from underneath the security gate.

“She was searched and whilst emptying her pockets provided police with a silver lockback knife.”

Tom Brown, defending, said: “There are shipping containers there, containing various electrical items.

“Her explanation was that she saw a piece of a hoover which she was trying to get to give to her mother, because her mother’s hoover was broken.

“Her explanation for being in possession of the knife was that it was there from an earlier camping trip.

“There was no suggestion there was any disturbance going on.

“She appreciates it’s a serious matter, particularly the second charge.

“Anybody in these courts convicted of possessing a knife faces the prospect of a custodial sentence.”

Mr Brown pointed out that his client had pleaded guilty to both charges “at the very earliest opportunity”, and asked Sheriff Pender to consider putting her on a community payback order and ordering her to carry out unpaid work.

He added: “That would not be an easy option, because she is in full-time work, but she would fall into line with whatever the social work department tells her.”

Sheriff Pender told Miller: “Carrying knives always leads to the prospect of a custodial sentence.

“However, given your lack of record and the positive criminal justice social work report, while custody must always be a consideration for offences such as these, by a very narrow margin I have concluded I can deal with you by way of a direct alternative to a custodial sentence.

“But if you do not comply that is what you can expect to receive.”

Miller, of Imperial Drive, Airdrie, was placed under the supervision of social workers until July 2019 and was told to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work – the maximum penalty allowed under sentencing rules – in 10 months.