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Man breached order by letting teenage girls drink at his Wick home

By Court Reporter

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A WICK man breached a court order banning him from having any contact with children under the age of 16.

Two teenagers, one aged 15, the other 13, were found to have been in John Begg's home in the town's Macrae Street, Wick Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday.

Begg (31) admitted the breach and a further charge of allowing the girls to drink alcohol. The offences occurred on November 27 last year.

The court was told that the teenagers were located by police at another address in the town. Officers were concerned about the 13-year-old's demeanour and took her to Caithness General Hospital.

Fiscal David Barclay said that the 15-year-old was found to be intoxicated and there was, fortunately, nothing "more sinister".

Solicitor Fiona MacDonald appealed to Sheriff Andrew Berry to step back from a custodial sentence, saying that the accused would "do his best" to co-operate with an alternative sentence such as unpaid work.

She added: "Begg has struggled in the past few years. He doesn't want to find himself in the revolving door of custody."

Sheriff Berry commented that the offences would justify a year in jail but took account of the fact that the accused had been on remand since November 30.

The sheriff said that he had had the benefit of a helpful background report and told Begg, appearing on a video link from Inverness prison: "It appears you are not an unintelligent person. It is clear you have academic abilities and if you were to put them to good use you could make something of your life.

"If you don't take the opportunity, then you are going to spend the rest of your life waiting for the police to call on yet another case."

Begg was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work. His progress will be reviewed on May 19.

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