Prison for offender who ignored chance to do unpaid work instead

Darren Elliott was jailed at Falkirk Sheriff Court
Darren Elliott was jailed at Falkirk Sheriff Court

A sheriff followed up on his threat to jail criminals who refuse to do unpaid work as punishment for their crimes.

Sheriff Craig Caldwell has repeatedly warned convicted offenders who have appeared before him at Falkirk Sheriff Court their abuse of community payback orders imposed as a direct alternative to custody could lead to them serving time in prison.

In court last Thursday Darren Elliott found to his cost the sheriff was not kidding.

Elliott (23), from Seaforth Road, Langlees, was jailed for four months for repeatedly refusing to comply with the unpaid work element of two orders imposed for using racially offensive language in Grangemouth and breaching bail last year.

His lawyer claimed Elliot takes paid work as a labourer when he can and that was getting in the way of completing the unpaid work.

He said: “The dilemma he faced was doing the paid work or losing his job, or not doing the unpaid work and losing his liberty. I have told him he has to get his priorities right and do the unpaid work. He is asking for a last chance.”

Sheriff Caldwell said: “He has been given ample opportunity to engage. The orders are now revoked and replaced with four months in custody.”

At the same court Mary Sutherland was told she will also be jailed if she fails to complete 120 hours of unpaid work in six months as part of an 18 month supervised community order for assaulting a police officer and police custody support officer in Falkirk Police Station on April 9.

The 34-year-old from 4 Hayfield, Falkirk, who has a daughter aged just ten months, admitted biting them and making homophobic remarks.

Sheriff Caldwell told her: “These are serious offences that can often result in a custodial sentence being imposed.

“However, because you have a ten-month-old daughter, and only because of that, I will refrain from that just now.

“But this order is a direct alternative to custody. Breach it in any way and you will be jailed, ten-month-old daughter or not.”