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Prison warning for Wick offender who skipped work order to go on holiday

By Court Reporter

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Sheriff Andrew Berry.
Sheriff Andrew Berry.

A Wick man used an unexpected windfall to take a two-week holiday with his partner – instead of getting on with his unpaid community work.

Sheriff Andew Berry took a dim view of John Taylor's priorities and warned him that if he didn't buckle down and do the work he would face a prison sentence.

Taylor (56) admitted breaching the 100 hours work order imposed on him in October after he admitted threatening or abusive behaviour at the Y-Not and Grove Bar in Thurso on September 11.

Taylor contacted social workers on his return from holiday on December 9 to be informed that he was in breach of the work order and then handed himself into the police after being told that a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

Taylor, of Battery Road, Wick, appeared from custody at Wick Sheriff Court, on Tuesday.

Solicitor Natalie Paterson explained the accused's absence from his unpaid work had been due to the holiday he had taken with his unexpected windfall cash.

However, she insisted that Taylor was keen to resume the order which is in its early stage.

Sheriff Berry told Taylor, who has an extensive record: "One word stands out in the breach report I received – 'hopeless'."

Commenting on the accused's past record of failure to attend appointments, the sheriff said: "The social workers are under extreme pressure and have enough to do without having to deal with people like you.

"You failed to attend for three appointments. On one of them, you arrive late and intoxicated. On another occasion, you make contact to say you have a cold. It is pathetic. I know plenty of people who come to work suffering with colds and all sorts of things. Then you come into some money and go off on a holiday."

Sheriff Berry told Taylor, who was said to have recently given up alcohol following a relapse, that he would allow the work order to continue but would review it in six weeks.

The sheriff warned Taylor: "If you have not complied with this order you are going to go to prison. Do you understand?"

Taylor replied: "Yes, sir."

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