A MAN who said he fled Scarborough after gipsies kidnapped him and threatened him with a gun has been jailed.
Scarborough Magistrates’ Court heard that Richard Hegarty, 37, formally of North Marine Road, had been taken to an area of Burniston where the travellers, whom he claimed to owe £2,500, shot a gun near him.
Hegarty said they told him they would not miss on the next occasion, if he did not pay his debt.
He admitted failing to answer bail and failing to comply with a community order, but Hegarty’s solicitor, Robert Vining, said his client had been left with little option following the alleged ordeal.
“As far as he was concerned he was in a no-win situation,” Mr Vining said. “If he stayed in Scarborough he was facing another visit to Burniston.
“He thought the only way out of it was to disappear.”
Mr Vining added that while his client accepted that he would be sent to prison, he was “terrified” of the prospect.
“These people have got friends who he knows are in Hull Prison. He is likely to be the victim of violence,” he added.
“I have told him to tell the authorities but prison officers can’t guard someone 24/7.”
Magistrates decided to revoke the community order, which Hegarty had been handed on June 10, and re-sentence him for a string of original offences.
A probation officer told the court that he had failed to attend a drug test on July 29 and a supervision appointment on August 3.
“He has not made any attempts to engage,” the court was told. “He says he is abstinent from drugs but we have no tests. He appears to lead a chaotic lifestyle. I would ask for a custodial disposal.”
Hegarty was sentenced to two months prison for the original offences - seven thefts and one failure to answer bail - for which he had received the community order.
He was then given an additional month for failing to answer bail when he fled Scarborough.