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YOU WON'T SLIP OUT OF THIS ONE; LOCKED UP: COURT LOSES PATIENCE WITH THIEF WHO WON'T STAY TAGGED.

A THIEF who slipped a supposedly tamper-proof electronic tag off his wrist using Fairy Liquid was finally behind bars last night.

Hugh Warren had once again flouted a court-imposed curfew.

The 19-year-old made history in December when he became one of the first offenders to be tagged.

It was part of a pilot scheme giving courts the option of tracking criminals instead of locking them up.

But the system was thrown into doubt when, days after being tagged, Warren wriggled free without setting off its alarm so he could break an 8pm to 8am curfew imposed at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

Police later caught him trying to break into a car. He claimed in court he had eased the tag off with washing-up liquid at his mother's home.

Warren was given another chance and sent away with the tag on his ankle.

But yesterday, the teenage thief was given three months in a detention centre by an exasperated Sheriff Dan Russell.

Unable to get the tagging device off his ankle, he simply ignored it and went round to stay the night at a friend's.

Warren, 19, of Rannoch Drive, Wishaw, Lanarkshire, admitted the further breach of his Restriction of Liberty Order.

Sheriff Russell told Warren, who is serving 12 months for other offences, that his time behind bars would give him time to think about his behaviour.

He said: "Hopefully you will not be back in trouble over this matter again."

Outside court, Warren's mother Andrea, 46, said it was perhaps just as well he had been locked up. She added: "I just think he wanted to go out the same as his pals.

"He is better maybe doing his time and then coming out with a clean slate. He has not been doing these things recently. That is all his charges dealt with now."

Warren had been in and out of trouble and seemed an ideal guinea pig for the tag. On December 11 last year he was put on probation for 18 months, on condition that he stay at home between 8pm and 8am.

After he was caught without his tag days later, the Scottish Office demanded a full report about the tracking scheme. The private firm responsible for monitoring it had to admit the system was open to abuse.

Meanwhile, despite the tag on his ankle, Warren was breaking the curfew again. The court then sent him to an armed forces-style boot camp called the Airborne Initiative.

Warren went on the run and was brought back to court again yesterday - this time in handcuffs and flanked by prison officers.

Bosses at the General Security Services Corporation, which runs the scheme for the Scottish Office, were astounded when Warren removed his tag without activating an alarm.

Deputy Manager Sheila Stubbs-Gorman said at the time: "The young man in question used a lot of force and a lot of lubrication in the form of Fairy Liquid.

"If the strap had been forcibly broken, the alarm would have sounded and we could have taken action. We take every precaution but this man was obviously very determined."
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Frew, Callum
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 31, 1999
Words:515
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