Fine for man who ‘snapped’ after taunts from children

Angered by pupils “taunting him” Neil Crawford threw dog faeces into the school playground where children were playing.

Crawford, 29, of Arthur Street, Hawick, admitted placing children in a state of fear and alarm and committing a breach of the peace at Trinity Primary School, Trinity Street, Hawick, on October 21.

Crawford was seen at 1.30pm in his back garden and appeared “highly agitated, shouting over the wall at schoolchildren playing in the playground.

“He picked up dog faeces on a shovel which he then threw,” explained depute fiscal Tessa Bradley at a previous hearing, “and the shovel hit the wall and the faeces went over it, into the playground.

“Fortunately, none of the children were hit,” she added.

A playground supervisor heard the children screaming and a child told her “a man threw dog poo into the playground.”

When the supervisor, who had seen the accused over the wall, went back out to collect the children’s coats, having ushered them inside, Crawford told her, “I’m sick of these kids giving me abuse.”

The accused told police he was being “taunted” by the children, and “snapped”.

His reply to caution was “Hands up to it.”

The playground had to be cleaned and disinfected.

Defence agent Rory Bannerman said Crawford had lived at the house for some three years now, with his rear garden next to the primary school.

“He is an unusual gentleman in appearance, particularly because of his height, and the children were taunting him,” said Mr Bannerman.

The solicitor said Crawford, a schizophrenic, “was slightly more vulnerable at being set off.”

“To throw a spade with dog faeces was a reckless act and when it imploded into the playground, it frightened the children. It was an unpleasant incident,” added Mr Bannerman.

“These were all children under 12 and he should have been able to turn the other cheek and walk back into his flat,” continued Mr Bannerman.

He said Crawford had since written a letter of apology to the school, and was extremely contrite.

Sheriff Derek O’Carroll fined Crawford £270, telling him, “This was a particularly unpleasant offence.

“It is to your credit that you put your hands up immediately, and that you do appear to be truly contrite, and have written a letter of apology to the school expressing your remorse.”