When John Gibson took a taxi to the Co-op in Lerwick to buy cat-food, he ended up walking out of the store with a new television instead.
But eagle-eyed staff spotted him go beyond the store’s checkout area with the set under his arm. They checked their in-store CCTV system and found no televisions had been bought.
Police caught up with Gibson, 35, of Hoofields yesterday. He was arrested and admitted: “I did it. I need the money for cat food and electricity, and someone told me they’d give me money for it.”
At Lerwick Sheriff Court on Tuesday Gibson admitted stealing the set, breaching a bail order.
Acting procurator fiscal Kathryn Gordon urged honorary sheriff Eric Peterson to deny him his liberty. “He has shown a blatant disregard for court orders and a blatant disregard for other peoples’ property,” she said.
Defence agent Craig Dewar said unemployed Gibson regularly attended his doctor to obtain a sick-line, which was given to the benefits office. But a problem arose when the benefits office failed to receive a sick-line, and his payments were stopped.
Gibson was left short of funds. He went to the Co-op to buy cat-food, but while there was approached by someone who asked him to take the television.
Mr Dewar said Gibson had suffered from drug problems for a number of years. However, he was now seeing a drug worker and was on a methadone programme.
“There is a distinction to be made between the Mr Gibson misusing drugs and now taking medication and not misusing drugs.”
Mr Dewar pressed honorary sheriff Peterson to allow Gibson his liberty while background reports are compiled to assess his suitability for a community-based disposal.
He said Gibson had co-operated with police, and had made attempts to contact the police before his arrest, but was told the officer dealing with his case was not available.
Gibson himself said he wanted arrangements to be made for his cat to be looked after if he was remanded.
The honorary sheriff released Gibson on bail until 3rd May. However, he warned Gibson to abide by a night-time curfew at weekends between 7pm and 7am. Gibson must also answer his door to the police and stay away from the Co-op.