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Teenager jailed for Brae graffiti spree

A SHETLAND teenager who led a gang of youths to spray his local high school, a garage and a leisure centre with foul graffiti was jailed for more than a year, when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

The court heard that on 24 March, 18 year old James Maloney had led two 16 year olds on a spray painting spree, covering Brae High School, Central Garage and the North Mainland Leisure Centre with messages described by Sheriff Graeme Napier as “absolutely disgraceful”.

At the school they broke windows and doors, they sprayed graffiti on cars at the garage and on the front door of the leisure centre.

Maloney, of 12 Sandside, Mossbank, pled guilty to all the offences. Kyle Coutts, of 17 Maidenfield, admitted vandalising the school and the garage, while Matthew Maloney, of 2 Housaquoy, admitted being only involved in the attack on the school.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said teachers had been so horrified by the graffiti and its “highly visible nature” that they had enlisted pupils to help clean it up the morning it was discovered.

Mr Mackenzie said the cost of the damage had been £3,000, which did not include the effort put in to clean it up and the loss of half a day’s education.

When confronted by the sheriff about why he had written what he had, including a statement that he was “God’s messenger”, James Maloney said: “I just didn’t think about it before I did it. I didn’t think about the consequences.”

Maloney was released from a 12 month sentence on 19 January, after being jailed for a string of offences, including breaking into a Lerwick shop, twice stealing his mother’s car, careless driving, driving while disqualified, twice breaching probation and breaching a curfew. He had also obstructed and threatened the police.

He had only been out of jail for three days, having served half of his sentence, when he admitted buying alcohol for four underage youngsters aged 15 and 16 on 22 January.

Two months later he pled guilty to driving while disqualified and without insurance at Sandside on 18 March and driving while disqualified on 25 March at nearby Maidenfield.

On 28 March he was released on bail for his latest driving offences after the court was told that he would lose the opportunity to attend the Venture Trust if he was on remand.

However on Wednesday the court was told that he had messed up his Venture Trust placement by displaying “misplaced enthusiasm”, and that his hopes of joining the army one day were becoming slimmer with every court appearance.

Mr Mackenzie described Maloney as “a particularly immature young man” who had no friends of his own age and sought to impress those younger than himself.

Sheriff Napier said: “The Venture Trust was your opportunity to impress me that you had actually grown up and in fact it’s just confirmed that you are immature. I think you are a danger to be at liberty at the moment until you start to mature.”

Maloney was jailed for 15 months and banned from driving for 10 years. Sentence on his two co-defendants was deferred until 15 June for social enquiry reports.

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