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Community / Temporary ban on alcohol at Sella Ness camp

The Sella Ness accommodation block.
The Sella Ness accommodation camp.

AFTER a spate of incidents at the Sella Ness accommodation camp, the catering company operating the facility has placed a temporary ban on alcohol consumption onsite.

Workers can no longer purchase alcohol at the inhouse bar, and they are not permitted to consume alcoholic beverages inside their rooms.

Sodexo, which has the catering contract at the camp, has temporarily banned the sale of alcohol after a line of incidents in which staff have been subjected to abusive behaviour from residents under the influence of alcohol.

In April, a worker pled guilty to threatening and abusing staff while inebriated in January after drinking in his room. This included threats to “kill staff” and to “smash them”, procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told Lerwick Sheriff Court.

Another man was found guilty of groping a 19-year-old girl in the nearby Mid Brae Inn while drunk following a trial at Lerwick Sheriff Court earlier this month. The 51-year old, who said he had no memory of the incident, was staying at the Sella Ness and working at Sullom Voe. He has since lost his job.

It is understood that Sodexo are also conducting random bag searches to ensure  workers do not bring alcohol onto the site from local shops to drink in their accommodation.

A company spokesperson said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, clients and customers is our top priority.

“Following a spate of alcohol-induced disruptive behaviour by some of the guests at Sella Ness, it has been agreed with the three organisations whose employees use the facility, to implement a temporary ban on the consumption of alcohol at the site.”

SSEN-Transmission, one of the companies which has workers housed at Sella Ness, said they expected high standards from its staff when they stay in Shetland.

A spokesperson said: “As a responsible developer, we and our contractors have established a robust code of conduct which applies to all workers on the Shetland transmission link project.

Shetland area commander, chief inspector Stuart Clemenson. Photo: Shetland News

“This sets out the high standards expected of all workers, at all times, and on the rare occasion’s behaviours don’t meet these standards, appropriate action is taken.”

Shetland area commander Stuart Clemenson welcomed the measure, as Police Scotland have been called out to the site multiple times in recent months.

The chief inspector said: “We are aware a minority of those based at the block have been involved in acts of disorder and anti-social behaviour which has required us to intervene and robustly police the location over the last few months.”

He added that Police Scotland “work in partnership with Sodexo”, adding that the ban on the consumption of alcohol has had a positive impact on the site.

Clemenson said: “To date, all our interactions have been very positive and the number of incidents recorded has been significantly reduced.”

Sodexo will review the alcohol ban on an ongoing basis.