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Scrap metal

A SHETLAND businessman who pled guilty to stealing from a Lerwick scrap metal yard left Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday without a criminal record for the offence.

The court heard that Nigel Timberlake, who owns Morrison’s grocers, on Lerwick’s Commercial Road, found more than half a tonne of scrap metal in a shed he owned when some foreign tenants moved out.

Having no idea where the scrap came from, he sold it to 60° North Recycling only to return home to discover the amount he had been paid was significantly lower than the market price.

Unhappy, he called the scrapyard and then returned the following day on 30 June last year, handed back the cash to reception and took back the metal he left, which was lying where he had left it.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie described it as “a technical crime” rather than “wilful dishonesty” and that nobody had lost or gained, while defence agent Tommy Allan called it “a quasi civil matter”.

Having heard that the 50 year old, who lives on Lerwick’s Queen’s Lane, had spent 10 hours in police custody after his arrest and had no criminal record for dishonesty, Sheriff Philip Mann gave him an absolute discharge saying he had suffered enough.

After the hearing, 60° North Recycling owner Charlie Barton, who is based in Lancaster, England, said he was surprised by the outcome of the case.

He added that he was “very happy and comfortable” with the prices he offers for scrap, saying that his Shetland operation had extra costs such as transport.

“Obviously you are going to get a percentage more if you sell it down south,” he said.

Mr Barton added that the police had confiscated the cash Timberlake had returned, and been holding on to it ever since. “So I am hoping that somewhere along the line I will get my money back.”