Co-op TV thief evades prison term

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A man who stole a television set from the Co-op in Lerwick after going there to buy cat food has narrowly avoided a prison sentence.

Instead John Gibson, 35, of the town’s Hoofields, must wear a tag for six months and carry out 300 hours of unpaid work as part of a one-year community payback order.

He was also banned from driving for life after helping to jump-start a broken down car at the Bressay ferry terminal in January, and driving it uninsured a short distance while disqualified.

Sentence on Gibson had previously been deferred after he admitted stealing the £80 set from the supermarket in Holsmgarth Road on 10th March.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court today defence agent Craig Dewar said Gibson had encountered difficulties with the benefits office at the time of the offence.

While at the store he met a neighbour. He made a request for Gibson to become involved in the offence, and he had gone along with the idea.

The television was subsequently recovered, and Gibson made himself available to police.

Mr Dewar said Gibson had resolved to turn his life around, was no longer misusing drugs and is now on a stable methadone programme.

Gibson, he said, had been struggling to cope with bereavement since the death of both his parents.

“He is engaging with a support worker and has demonstrated a good level of motivation and compliance,” said Mr Dewar.

“He is ashamed of the fact he became involved in this offence and is extremely regretful, and is extremely reluctant to go … into custody.”

Gibson was also permitted to address Sheriff Philip Mann himself. Describing himself as a “twat”, he said that the penny had dropped and he had moved on from his criminal activities.

“I’m in my house all the time. My door is locked to any drug user. All I can say is the person from the past is totally different from the person at the moment.”

Sheriff Mann said a custodial sentence may not be effective. He told him to complete the unpaid work within 12 months.

“If you breach this [community-based disposal] the almost certain position is that you will receive a custodial sentence, and it will be a lengthy one.”

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