A man terrified staff and customers at a hair salon while “full of legal highs” before pilfering cash and cheques worth more than £200 from the till.
George Hogg, 33, of Dunrossness, burst into a Lerwick hairdresser’s shop with a scarf covering his face, the town’s sheriff court was told.
He forced the proprietor towards the till and ordered she open it. He made a grab for the money, which totalled £270.
Hogg was chased out of the premises by an elderly man who shouted for him to stop. The police were called and attended immediately.
Officers later went to Hogg’s address, and could see him through the living room window, wearing clothes that matched the description given to them.
Having gained entry to the house they saw Hogg out of breath and sitting on the sofa with a number of cheques and money bags.
A violent struggle ensued after Hogg was told he was going to be detained. One of the police officers sustained a 10cm cut to his right forearm.
Two hours earlier, Hogg had sparked concern at The Shetland Times bookshop. The court was told a member of staff had the presence of mind to take photographs – one of which showed a hold-all Hogg had taken into the premises in preparation for him stealing items from there.
The shop had two charity tins secured to the counter. But Hogg tried to set about the chain with a pair of pliers before members of staff told him to leave the store.
Hogg, who has been in custody since 14th December after the offence took place three days earlier, admitted three charges when he appeared before sheriff Philip Mann.
He pleaded guilty to attempting to cut a length of wire securing a charity box to the shop counter in a bid to steal the box.
Hogg also admitted assaulting a woman at Jon Stone Hairdressers in Mounthooly Street with his face masked. He shouted and swore at her and propelled her to the till before robbing her of the money.
Finally, Hogg admitted resisting, obstructing or hindering two police officers and struggling violently with them, in the course of which one of them sustained an injury.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said it was an “unusual” case for the isles.
“It’s difficult to convey just how terrifying this incident was, particularly for those involved at the hairdresser’s,” he said.
“Clearly, this wasn’t a spur of the moment idea.”
Defence agent Tommy Allan said that, when he asked his client what he wanted to say, Hogg had replied that he “wasn’t bothered what was said, but he wanted to apologise”.
He said Hogg had endured a “life-long struggle” with addiction and, on the day in question, was full of legal highs.
Mr Allan said Hogg, who had only been released from custody on 4th December, had wanted to be back in prison. But even Hogg did not expect to do something as extreme as he had, the defence agent said.
“He struggles when at liberty and, in a very real sense of the word, he feels institutionalised. He struggles to cope when at liberty.”
Mr Allan said Hogg realised he needed help to “break the cycle” of offending and take whatever help he could get.
He said Hogg had been in custody since 14th December, and was always going to plead guilty.
Sheriff Philip Mann wondered whether a supervised release order might be appropriate for Hogg when he is finally released from prison.
“I have to look at any available means that will ensure there is a regime in place when you come out of prison to ensure you are on some sort of supervision,” he told Hogg.
He deferred sentence until 30th March to allow a background report to be compiled. Hogg was remanded in the meantime.