A BUCHAN teenager narrowly avoided jail last week after lying to police about a stolen car.
Police officers in Fraserburgh spent more than 50 hours trying to trace the vehicle after Andrew Hosie (18) reported it stolen.
The teenager called 999 at 3pm on September 19 last year, telling police that someone had taken his keys from his jacket pocket and driven the car away as he slept.
Two officers were unable to attend an organised police operation as they went to talk to Hosie and made door to door enquiries.
Hosie had been drinking with friends at an address at the town’s Shore Street on the evening of September 18 last year, and told police that he had parked the car at Harbour Street.
He claimed that when he woke at 2.45pm the next day, the keys were missing from his jacket pocket and the car was not where he left it.
Depute Fiscal David Thorburn said: “There were six people at Shore Street during the evening and the accused said he did not know which one of them had taken his keys.”
The car was later discovered parked on Mid Street and officers stood watch until the vehicle could be moved to a garage.
Hosie was caught after a Community Warden spent more than eight hours trawling through CCTV footage.
Hosie was spotted leaving the flat on Shore Street in the car and returning on foot, a short time before he dialled 999.
Mr Thorburn said: “The two officers sent the majority of their nine-hour shift on the allegation. They were due to take part in a police operation but were unable to attend. The total time spent by officers and staff on the case amounted to 52 hours.”
The teenager was detained by police and charged with wasting police time but refused to explain the hoax.
Hosie, of Blackill of Knaven in Maud, also admitted smashing windows of a car parked on a street in Fetterangus on July 29 last year and attempting to hit the car’s owner with a baseball bat.
The 18-year-old avoided jail at Peterhead Sheriff Court last week but must carry out 220 hours unpaid work. He was also fined £100 and ordered to pay £800 compensation to the car’s owner.
Sheriff Gregor Murray said: “You wasted 52 hours of police time amounting to thousands and thousands of pounds.
“The only reason I am not sending you to jail today is that you are a first offender.”