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Court / Man given unpaid work after taking backpack from pub

A MAN who mistakenly took a backpack from a Lerwick pub which contained an iPhone and £200 in cash but decided against putting it back has been sentenced.

Richard Layfield, of Horseshoe Close, Virkie, admitted resetting a backpack and its contents at the Douglas Arms on Commercial Road on 21 December 2018.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said the 39-year-old did not benefit “in any way from the contents in the bag”.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told court that Layfield mistakenly thought the bag belonged to an acquaintance he was with.

“He removed a rucksack and contents from the premises and at the point he took possession of the item it is accepted that he’s had the belief that it belonged to the female he was with.

“He was wrong in that belief.”

However, instead of handing the bag back, Layfield – who was “quite sober at the time” – kept the bag.

Mackenzie suggested his decision was “informed by the high value of the contents”.

Inside the bag was an iPhone worth £400, £200 in cash and other items such as a car key.

He said the financial hit to the complainer was around £1,600. This included the £200 cost of replacing the car key and £600 for taking the vehicle south to get the key aligned with the vehicle.

There was also the inconvenience of cancelling debit cards, Mackenzie said.

“It was easy for him to rectify his mistake,” the fiscal added. “He was tempted to do the wrong thing.”

Allan said it was “not clear what happened to the bag” in the end.

Layfield confirmed it had been in his car, the solicitor said, but he was not sure what happened to it after.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank gave Layfield 90 hours of unpaid work to complete and due to his “limited means” issued a compensation order for £400.