Vandalising fish processing equipment at the Scottish Sea Farms premises in Scalloway earned one man an appearance at Lerwick Sheriff Court.
Robert Setrice, 39, of Skerpalea in Sandwick disconnected pipes and cables from the rear of fish processing machinery at Blacksness Pier.
The malicious offence happened on three occasions between 30th March and 28th April.
His actions meant effluent material discharged into the grounds.
Setrice was ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation and handed a 12 month community payback order with 140 hours of unpaid work.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie described the case as “troubling”.
He insisted the offence had been planned.
“There were three separate occasions, and that goes beyond an impromptu, spontaneous act,” he told yesterday’s court.
He added the large equipment required specialist knowledge, with cables being disconnected and tucked away so that it would not be immediately obvious to anyone looking what the problem was.
The fiscal said some of the cables were “live, electrical cables”. He said it was fortunate those investigating the problems knew what to do, and that “well-rehearsed” safety procedures were in place.
“It’s fortunate that no-one was hurt, but the potential for someone to be seriously hurt was very real.”
He added the incidents had “quite a significant impact” on the company, which had had to fork out almost £4,886 in clean up costs. A CCTV system was installed, but not before suspicion of the crime had fallen on members of staff.
“It made the working environment distinctly uncomfortable for a period of time,” said Mr MacKenzie.
The Crown accepted, however, that Setrice had not deliberately put anyone at risk.
Defence agent Tommy Allan said a background report had made clear Setrice had struggled to explain his actions.
He added Setrice felt remorse for his behaviour, which was more intended to cause nuisance than a major financial upheaval.
Sheriff Donald Ferguson ruled a compensation order would be appropriate, although he conceded it would be “unrealistic” for Setrice to pay the full amount.
“Why you did this still remains unexplained and inexplicable,” he said.