When council tenant Alexander Turner broke into his own flat after losing his keys he called 999 and told police who attended there had been a break-in to avoid having to pay for the damage.
But officers soon saw through his “cock-and-bull story” and arrested him for breaking the window. The exercise proved doubly futile when Turner discovered he had his keys after all.
Turner, 43, who now stays at Elm Green, Conisbrough in Doncaster, committed the offence when he was staying at Hoofields in Lerwick last October.
Appearing at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday he was fined £250 and told to pay £175 in compensation.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Turner broke the window after he had been drinking.
“He effected entry to his own tenancy and used the 999 system to phone the police and come up with a cock-and-bull story,” he said. “It didn’t take the police long to get to the bottom of it.”
Confronted about his dishonesty, Turner said he did not want the council to charge him for the broken window.
Defence agent Tommy Allan said Turner felt “fairly stupid” about the incident – not least because he found his keys in his pocket after being detained.
He said Turner had come to the isles looking for work, but had fallen on hard times despite working in a fish factory for some time.
Turner had since tried to ply his trade as a busker with a violin, but said he was not making any income from that now.
Sheriff Graeme Napier was worried by the number of outstanding fines Turner had received in the past, and thought he may not be able to pay any new fine imposed.
In the end he remited the outstanding fines and warned Turner he could face custody as an alternative should he fail to pay his new penalty.
A fines enforcement order was also imposed, meaning money can be taken out of his benefits if he fails to keep up with his payments.