Intimidation high on sheriff’s no-go agenda

New Borders sheriff Peter Paterson has warned he will come down heavy on people who interfere with police while they are making their enquiries.

On Monday he locked up a 38-year-old man who was arrested by police in a Galashiels pub the previous day after he stared at a witness they were questioning.

Officers had been called to The Woodcutter on the Langlee housing estate and were probing an allegation of assault when Douglas Cruikshank, said to be a member of the far-right Scottish Defence League, entered the pub.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser told the court: “He stood and stared at the person police were speaking to, and when the man asked him if he had a problem, he told him he was just watching him being a grass.”

The man ignored Cruikshank, but he continued to stare and the prosecutor added: “Police were concerned about intimidation and asked him to leave, but he was belligerent and refused to go.”

When officers told Cruikshank they were going to search him as they had been told he could have a weapon, he became even more difficult and was arrested.

Mr Fraser revealed: “He belongs to the Scottish Defence League and this is an example of how he puts himself about.”

Sheriff Paterson told Cruikshank he considered the offence very serious and warned: “I will not tolerate people interfering with police enquiries.”

Cruikshank, of Winston Road, Galashiels, appeared from custody at Selkirk Sheriff Court and admitted behaving in an abusive, belligerent and aggressive manner.

His solicitor, Mat Patrick, said: “These were the actions of a man who had drunk far too much.

“He became really upset when police said they were going to search him for a weapon as, it his position, he would never do such a thing.

“He should never have got himself involved in the police investigation.”

Sheriff Paterson turned down bail and remanded Cruikshank in custody until December 9 while social workers prepare background reports.