Stole camper van left ablaze on Black Isle after 'erratic' journey from city, court told
A MAN on early release from prison stole a camper van in Inverness then set it alight after driving through the town before joining the B9161 to Munlochy.
Ian Grant (41), described as prisoner at HMP Inverness, took the camper van from an address in Smithton Park.
At 4am on the morning of October 20 a motorist was waiting at traffic lights at the Longman Road roundabout when the white camper van driven by Grant travelled from the direction of Longman Road.
Depute fiscal David Morton said the camper van entered the roundabout and was being driven erratically over all three lanes with no lights on before continuing north on the A9.
The witness saw the camper van swerving all over the road waving from side to side striking kerbs.
He was concerned the driver was drunk and phoned the police.
The camper van turned off the A9 joining the B961 and the witness continued his journey north.
"About 4.40am a call was made to to the Scottish Fire and rescue Service by another member of the public reporting a camper van on fire on the unclassified road near to the B9161 at Munlochy."
The fiscal said the vehicle was described as partially in a roadside ditch and "well ablaze".
Police attended and saw the smoking remnants of the camper van. Shortly after they were approached by a taxi driver who had seen the campervan earlier and then later saw a male lying at the side of the road .
At 5.30am Grant was found and noted to be heavily under the influence of alcohol.
He told police under caution how he knew how to steal vehicles but that they had not seem him steal the vehicle and that he had not stolen it.
"At this point there had been no mention of a stolen vehicle by either of the police officers," the fiscal said.
Later at Burnett Road Police station he refused to provide samples of breath in an intoximeter.
The owner of the camper van said following an insurance settlement he was out of pocket to the tune of over £3500.
Grant admitted stealing the camper van driving without a licence or insurance and culpably and recklessly setting fire to the camper van and its contents including metal detectors, fishing equipment, binoculars and a TV.
Sheriff Margaret Neilson deferred sentence until February 14 to investigate the unexpired period of the prison sentence Grant had been serving.