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Man pays fine after stint in jail

A SKERRIES man has ended up spending nearly two months in custody after failing to turn up for an earlier court appearance for a string of charges, only one of which was potentially punishable by imprisonment.

Gary Blance, 42, of West Isle, appeared from custody on Thursday to admit three motoring offences plus resisting police officers and failing to identify himself to police on 11 September.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said it was a “quite ridiculous situation” that Blance had already been in custody for so long when only one of the charges he faced carried a potential custodial penalty.

Blance had been released on bail after his first appearance at Lerwick Sheriff Court on 12 September but was arrested again after failing to turn up for court on 26 September.

On Thursday he pleaded guilty to failing to stop a car at Vidlin pier when requested by police, resulting in a “slow motion car chase” on a single track road that ended at Hamnavoe in Lunna Ness.

Two female police officers had seen Blance apparently sleeping in his car in the “middle of the pier”, but when they tried to open the car door he started the car and drove off.

They followed him several miles with blue lights flashing to a house belonging to his father at Hamnavoe. Blance was “considerably larger” than the police officers and when one tried to take his car keys, he repeatedly grabbed her hands and pushed her away, but he complied when two male officers arrived.

At the police station Blance failed to identify himself as the driver of a car that contravened the road traffic act at Lochside on 10 September.

He also pleaded guilty to driving with no insurance and without MOT.

Tommy Allan, defending, said that Blance, who had no previous convictions, had been in Vidlin attending his grandmother’s funeral.

He was very affected by the loss of his grandmother who had been his “second mother”. He had driven away because he had been in no state to speak to the police.

He had only been on the Shetland mainland with his car for the purpose of attending her funeral.

The sheriff admonished Blance on all the offences other than resisting officers, for which he was fined £180. He also received six penalty points for driving with no insurance and had his licence endorsed for failing to identify himself to police.