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Bad blood between Castletown neighbours saw one poison the other's fish pond, Wick Sheriff Court told

By Ali Morrison

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Wick Sheriff Court.
Wick Sheriff Court.

A man poured a bottle of what is believed to have been household bleach into the pond in the early hours of March 25.

Fiscal David Barclay told Wick Sheriff Court the drunken act by Colin William MacNeil was captured on motion-activated cameras trained on the back garden of a house in Mackay Street, Castletown.

His neighbour discovered what had happened shortly after and removed his three pet fish from the pond.

The court heard they did not come to any significant harm.

Police were contacted and soon apprehended MacNeil (38) who made no reply to being cautioned and charged.

MacNeil, of Calder Square, Castletown, admitted knowingly using a poisonous substance without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.

His sentence had been deferred for the preparation of a social work report.

Solicitor George Mathers said there is a history of ill feeling between MacNeil and the complainant, who he said is well known to the court.

The latter had bullied MacNeil as a child and their relationship continued to be acrimonious.

According to MacNeil, the individual had threatened him several times.

Mr Mathers said: “He behaved in a disgraceful way pouring the bleach into the pond and he’s thoroughly ashamed of that. He accepts full responsibility for it and he is thoroughly sorry that he took his anger at the man out on the fish.”

Mr Mathers said MacNeil was very drunk at the time, with alcohol a common factor in his history of offending.

“He seems to lack the willpower to do anything about it,” he said.

Addressing MacNeil, Sheriff Ian Miller said: “Your solicitor described it as entirely inappropriate and disgraceful conduct and that it is a very accurate description.”

It was, the sheriff said, an indirect attack on the neighbour.

He accepted MacNeil had shown a degree of remorse but believed he needed to address his alcohol problem and be aware of how it impacts others.

He imposed a three month restriction of liberty order under which MacNeil will have to stay at home between 7pm and 7am daily.

The sheriff said an animal disqualification or compensation order was inappropriate in this case, given the circumstances.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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