A man who threatened to turn up at Sullom Voe Oil Terminal with a shotgun, sparking a major security alert in the process, has been spared a custodial sentence.
Roderick Nicolson, 48, of Da Kupp, Tresta, has instead been ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work as part of an 18-month community payback order. He previously admitted phoning the site and behaving threatening manner likely to cause fear or alarm.
Lerwick Sheriff Court heard today that Nicolson, a former employee at the plant, phoned up the terminal and told a security guard he was “going clean off my head”. He said he planned to visit the plant with the weapon.
“The pain is nipping my head so much I am coming up with my shotgun. Not that I am aiming it at anyone, but you had better take cover,” Nicolson had said.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Nicolson’s actions immediately led to the terminal being closed. “Three hundred employees were unable to go about their work for about an hour,” he said.
The antics were also behind a two-hour delay on the construction of the major new Total gas plant which is currently under development.
Mr MacKenzie added he was unsure Nicolson understood how serious his offence was. He had been “quite flippant” with police officers.
Questioned by sheriff Philip Mann, Nicolson – who was representing himself – struggled to explain why he had carried out the offence.
“I don’t know what was going through my mind when I did that. It has been going through my head ever since. I’ve got resentments stretching back a number of years and I suppose the dam burst. It was a moment of madness.
“The first I realised it was serious was when they [the police] turned up with sub-machine guns and I thought, what have I done? I’m very sorry for it all. If I could turn the clock back I would, but I really don’t know what prompted me initially to make the phone call.”
Nicolson said he took issue with part of a background report which said there was a “reasonable likelihood” he would re-offend.
That prompted sheriff Mann to ponder whether Nicolson may harbour resentment against the court proceedings. However, Nicolson insisted he had no feelings of resentment at all.
The sheriff said he would not be criticised by sending Nicolson to prison. “But I am not satisfied that a prison sentence would have the desired result,” he said. He warned Nicolson there was a “high chance” he would be given a custodial sentence if he breached the order.
Nicolson admitted: “The thought of prison terrifies me.”