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Almost five years jail for serial offenders

TWO MEN have been imprisoned for a total of nearly five years after admitting to possessing stolen goods over the festive period.

Appearing from custody, 25 year old Adam Nelson, whose address was given as Barlinnie Prison, admitted “resetting” several pieces of computer equipment at Hoofields, Lerwick on Boxing Day.

Nelson also pleaded guilty to breaking into Staney Hill Hall on Christmas Day and stealing boxing equipment and two sports bags.

His co-accused, 26 year old Kieran Roberts, also of Barlinnie, admitted resetting computer technology, including a games console, controllers, hard drives, an iPad and two laptops.

The equipment had been taken from a residential caravan on Christmas Day.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Thursday that police had searched Roberts’ Hoofields home on Boxing Day and found several of the stolen items.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said all of the stolen goods had now been recovered. Some were high value items that “may well have been Christmas gifts”.

Such offences were “bread and butter” crimes elsewhere, but the fiscal said that did not apply to Shetland.

“In recent times [such crimes] have changed the very nature of the community we live in here,” MacKenzie said.

Defence agent Christopher Bailey said Nelson had lost his job in early December, and by Christmas was still waiting for a benefits claim to be processed.

While his client accepted the seriousness of the crimes, Bailey said they were “not planned or premeditated”.

Nelson had been drinking alcohol and taking mind-altering substances over the festive period, and Bailey termed his behaviour an “opportunistic” attempt to obtain money to buy gifts for others.

His client’s “main goal” is to break the cycle of drug use which was the underlying cause of the offences, Bailey added.

Sheriff Philip Mann said Nelson’s criminal record was “littered” with previous convictions for theft, dishonesty and break-ins.

Taking items “likely to have been Christmas presents” was a “particularly despicable” offence, he said.

The sheriff was unimpressed with the suggestion Nelson had been acting as “some sort of Robin Hood type” or “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.

He sentenced Nelson to two and a half years in prison.

Roberts also had a “dreadful” past record including “quite a number of serious crimes of dishonesty”, the sheriff said.

He was sentenced to two years and three months in jail.

Both sentences were backdated to 30 December when the pair were first remanded.