Woman’s attempt to play hide-and-seek near Galashiels a waste of police time, court told

Glenkinnon Community Woodland at Clovenfords.
Glenkinnon Community Woodland at Clovenfords.

Police officers searching for a 26-year-old woman were taunted by her trying as she turned their hunt into a time-wasting game of hide-and-seek, Jedburgh Sheriff Court has been told.

Sarah Scott went missing and told staff at the Huntlyburn Ward psychiatric unit at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose that she wanted help “shooting herself in the head”.

Initially she would not answer calls on her mobile when the search began on Saturday, August 17.

She was already on bail at the time with special conditions that she had to disclose her location if requested to by police or medics.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser said police eventually got through to her on her mobile phone but she swore at them, adding that she did not care about other people and looked forward to the police searching for her all night.

The fiscal added: “When they asked again where she was, she replied she was miles away from Galashiels.

“She then asked the police officer where he was and she would tell him if he was hot or cold, but they did not want to play her game.”

Mr Fraser said the police were searching for hours, rendering officers unable to deal with other matters.

Scott continued to refuse to reveal where she was and officers visited various addresses looking for her.

The fiscal said: “Two hours later, her vehicle was found outside Galashiels. She was giggling and asked why they had taken so long.”

The police were unable to take her home, though, as she said she would kill herself, so she was taken into custody instead.

Scott, of Woodstock Avenue in Galashiels, had been on bail after failing to co-operate with the authorities on August 11 after being found walking along the middle of the A6091 Galashiels-Newtown road, ending up assaulting a female officer, and a previous incident at Glenkinnon Woods near Clovenfords on June 24.

During one of the searches, 48 hours of police time had been wasted looking for her, the court heard.

She pleaded guilty to four complaints of breaching bail and wasting police time.

Defence lawyer Ed Hulme said his client had already spent a month in custody.

He said: “It was in 2014, when she was 21 years old, that she came to the court’s attention. It is a mystery why she began to offend repeatedly.

“She had an untreatable personality disorder.”

The court heard that she had an IQ of 71, one point above being classed as having a learning disability.

Mr Hulme added: “When she feels distressed, she functions as a young child.”

Sheriff Robert Vaughn imposed a restriction-of-liberty order for the next six months keeping her at home between 7pm and 7am.

In addition, she was ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work over the next nine months and placed under supervision as part of a community payback order for the next two years.