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TV thief stays out of jail…just

A FORMER drug addict who claims to have turned his life around narrowly escaped a prison sentence at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday after admitting he stole a television and driving while disqualified.

John Gibson, of 23 Hoofields, Lerwick, was given a chance to continue getting his life in order when he was sentenced to 300 hours unpaid work, and told to stay indoors for the next six months between the hours of 7pm and 7am.

The 35 year old, already disqualified from driving for life, was given a second lifetime ban.

The court heard that Gibson was helping a friend to jump-start a car at the Bressay ferry terminal on 17 January, and subsequently drove the car for a short distance after they got it going.

Two months later, on 10 March, he was talked into stealing a television from the local Co-op superstore.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie described it as a straightforward case of shoplifting. The TV set, worth £80, was recovered.

Gibson’s agent Craig Dewar told the court that his client was no longer misusing drugs and was keen to get back into society again, as confirmed by his positive social inquiry report.

Addressing Sheriff Philip Mann personally, Gibson said he was a different man from 18 months ago and had managed to give up drugs off his own back.

Asked how he explained this latest streak of offending, Gibson replied that he had been “a twat” and a “stupid idiot”.

Sheriff Mann said that a custodial sentence was “almost inevitable”, but conceded that jail had not done much good for him in the past.

He said that social workers had been prepared “to stick their neck out” for him and that he would do likewise.

He sentenced him to 200 hours of unpaid work for the theft and 300 hours for driving while disqualified, both sentences are to run concurrently.

Sheriff Mann also warned Gibson that he would go to prison for a lengthy period should he breach any element of the order.