Man jailed after knife struggle aboard the X99 Caithness-Inverness bus
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A BUS journey from Caithness to Inverness turned violent when passengers had to disarm a thief who produced a knife after being challenged about stealing.
The drama unfolded on the X99 Stagecoach bus on February 8 this year.
Daniel McLean (40), of Mansfield Estate, Tain, was jailed for 16 months today (Tuesday) by Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood after admitting threatening behaviour with a knife, unlawful possession of the blade and theft.
Also on the bus was a man scheduled for an overnight stay in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and accompanied by a friend.
Inverness Sheriff Court heard that the passenger had a bag containing his headphones, a mobile phone and his medication.
McLean had boarded the southbound bus at Castletown and immediately complained about the lack of heating. Fiscal depute Allison Young told the court that he moved around the bus looking for another seat before laying down on the floor near the other two men who fell asleep.
But when one of the passengers woke up and went to retrieve his mobile phone, he discovered the items were missing.
"The only person near to him had been McLean. He approached the bus driver and told him of the theft."
Mrs Young said the bus was stopped near Tain and the driver left to call the police, after locking the door behind him.
By this time, McLean was wearing the stolen headphones round his neck and when the theft victim got his friend to ring his phone, he could hear it in McLean's pocket. He was challenged about the theft.
At this point McLean produced the knife but after a struggle with other passengers, he was disarmed, Mrs Young added.
Police arrived and arrested McLean who later claimed he had been loaned the headphones. The stolen property was recovered.