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Man ‘full of legal highs’ robbed hairdressers

A MAN has admitted attempting to steal charity boxes before thieving money from a Lerwick hairdressers while “full of legal highs”.

George Hogg, whose address was given as Grampian Prison, appeared from custody at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday to plead guilty to three offences that occurred in the town’s centre on 11 December. Sentence was deferred for reports.

The 34 year old admitted attempting to steal a charity box from the Shetland Times Bookshop on Commercial Street by cutting its wire securing.

Hogg also pled guilty to assaulting a woman with his face masked at Jon Stone Hairdressers on Mounthooly Street on the same day and shouting and swearing at her before forcibly propelling her to the till and robbing a sum of money and a number of cheques.

He also admitted resisting, obstructing or hindering two police constables at an address on Mounthooly Street, also on the same day, and struggling violently with them, causing one to sustain an injury.

Describing the sequence of events, procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said a concerned member of staff at the Shetland Times Bookshop took photos of Hogg in the shop after becoming suspicious of his behaviour.

One of the images showed the man with a holdall bag on the floor, which the staff member thought he would use to conceal stolen items.

The man then attempted to cut two charity boxes free from their chains on the shop’s counter with pliers before he was asked to leave.

He did so after arguing with the staff member for “some time”.

Two hours later, Hogg burst into Jon Stone Hairdressers wearing a scarf to cover his face while a number of customers and staff were in the premises.

He was “very aggressive” in order to “terrorise” members of staff before grabbing the female proprietor and “manhandling” her towards the till.

She gave Hogg access and he took around £270 in cash and cheques, with the money placed into a bag.

He left the building and was unsuccessfully pursued by an elderly man and another passer-by.

Police soon attended a nearby car park overlooking where Hogg lived and saw him through a window.

They entered the address after an occupant let them in and they saw Hogg “out of breath” with items such as cheques, black gloves and a money bag nearby.

He then embarked on a “violent struggle” with police after being told he would be detained, with one officer suffering a laceration to his right forearm.

“This is an unusual case for these islands,” Mackenzie concluded, “and it wasn’t spur of the moment”.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Hogg struggled with addiction and admitted he was “full of legal highs” during the incident, which his client cannot remember.

The solicitor suggested the only reason for the man’s behaviour was to return to prison – a place where he feels “safe”. Hogg is now “institutionalised”, Allan said.

With a custodial sentence in the offing, Sheriff Philip Mann said he was considering the option of imposing a supervision order following his potential release from jail.

However, this meant that social work reports would have to compiled, with Sheriff Mann deferring sentence until 30 March so they could be prepared. Hogg was remanded in custody in the meantime.

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