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Easter Ross nuisance 999 caller lands work order from sheriff

By Hector MacKenzie

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A Ross-shire woman revealed to her solicitor for the first time why she had 28 previous convictions in the last four years for making nuisance 999 calls.

Lawyer Neil Wilson told Inverness Sheriff Court that his client, Elizabeth Gibson (22) from Westford in Alness, often had suicidal thoughts when she was drunk and phoned the police knowing they would come.

"Then she would be safe," Mr Wilson added.

Mr Wilson explained to Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald yesterday (Friday) when Gibson admitted her latest series of unnecessary emergency calls made between May 12 and June 7 this year. She also pleaded guilty to two charges of police assault by kicking out at officers.

He went on: "Over the last four years and three months, she has spent 75% of her time in custody. She was released from her last sentence on March 25 and then went into another kind of prison - lockdown.

"For some people, staying out of trouble for seven weeks is nothing to be proud of but for her it is more than she has managed in the past.

"I keep asking her why she is doing this and she has been more coherent about the reason with me. She gets depressed, drinks to excess and she gets to be suicidal.

"If she phones the police, she knows they will come, she will be arrested and she will be safe. But when she sobers up, she no longer wants to be in prison.

"There are the beginnings of hope here and a growing awareness by her of what the underlying problems may be.

"I am asking the court to allow her her liberty, place her under supervision for a period and she has asked for a condition stopping her from consuming alcohol. She tends to do what her social workers tell her." Mr Wilson added.

Sheriff Macdonald ordered Gibson to do 60 hours of unpaid work, placed her on one year supervision and banned her from taking alcohol during that time.

But she warned her: "I am dealing with you leniently. The 999 service is for emergencies and you are preventing other people from accessing it. If you do not abide by the rules of my order, then you will be brought back and a prison sentence can be imposed."

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