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Scrap metal thief jailed for six months

A MAN from Brae who stole £14,000 worth of copper wire from his former employer to sell to a scrap dealer to fund his drug habit has been jailed for six months.

Shaun Hurson, of Lingapund, previously admitted stealing the metal from Petrofac’s Sella Ness yard on or between 18 December 2015 and 17 February 2016.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday that the 25 year old was well aware of the layout and security system of the yard.

Suspicion was aroused when police made enquiries with a scrap dealer, but Hurson initially denied any involvement when interviewed by officers.

There had been no attempt to arrange repayment of the money received through selling the metal, Mackenzie said.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said it was “clear” that his client hadn’t been acting alone and that other people were involved in the theft who had “escaped detection”.

The solicitor said Hurson was in a “desperate state” at the time of the offence and needed money to fund his addiction to heroin.

Allan said incident “marked something of a turning point” and that his client is now off the drug.

He said Hurson was “happy to pay the price” for his wrongdoing, but the solicitor asked Sheriff Philip Mann to take into account the improvements made in his life and his lack of previous offending.

Sheriff Mann, however, ruled that custody was the only option and said the theft would have been a “substantial loss” for anyone, even a large company.

“This wasn’t an opportunistic theft – it was a theft that was carried out over a period of two months,” he said before jailing Hurson.

“It needed a degree of inside knowledge, so I have to take it that this was a theft planned in advance.”