A TEENAGER who was charged over a string of bomb hoaxes which caused three Barrhead schools to be evacuated has walked free from court.
Mark Stewart, 19, was originally facing 12 charges over his alleged antics in the summer of 2015, including claims he repeatedly torched a school in the town.
Prosecutors claimed he set fire to items he’d placed against a door in the janitor’s office at St Luke’s High on June 3, 2015, causing “extensive damage.”
He was also accused of twice setting fire to the same door two weeks later, causing “extensive damage” to the door room and equipment on the first occasion, and damaging the door the second time.
The charges against him also stated that he made a hoax phone call on September 13, 2015, by phoning the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and telling them that Albarn Farm, in Barrhead’s Aurs Road, was on fire when it wasn’t.
And Mr Stewart was said to have made bomb hoaxes involving three Barrhead schools and another in Giffnock on September 16, 2015, leading to the buildings being evacuated.
Pupils at St Mark’s Primary, St Luke’s High, Barrhead High and St Ninian’s High were only able to return to lessons after checks were carried out by a bomb disposal expert and sniffer dog.
Stewart was also said to have made two hoax calls about there being a bomb in Auchenback Primary School on October 11, 2015, and two hoax calls about a fire at St Luke’s 11 days later, on October 22, 2015.
During the probe in to the incidents, suspicion fell on Stewart, of Barrhead’s Langton Crescent, and he was arrested and charged with the 12 alleged offences.
He initially appeared in private and was released on bail whole prosecutors carried out further investigations, wing prosecuted in a way which could have seen him facing a hail term of up to five years.
But 11 of the charges were dropped and he was due to face trial accused of only one of the original 12 offences.
He denied breaking Section 85(1) of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 by making a hoax phone call on September 13, 2015, by phoning the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and telling them that Albarn Farm was ablaze.
He was due to go on trial over the offence last month, represented by defence solicitor Kirsty McGeehan, a partner in law firm McGeehan and Company, before Sheriff James Spy at Paisley Sheriff Court.
But the case was treated as “not called” by prosecutors - meaning they did not being the trial and the case is at an end, allowing Stewart to walk free from court.