Po­lice found ‘landowner’ with knives

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - GARY FITZ­PATRICK

A self-de­clared landowner and farmer called the po­lice out to deal with poach­ers on his prop­erty.

How­ever, there was never any proof found that Thomas John­stone owned any of the land he claimed was his and he was ar­rested for hav­ing two knives in his pos­ses­sion.

John­stone, 47, of Bruce­field Ter­race, Lumphin­nans, ap­peared on trial from cus­tody at Dun­fermline Sher­iff Court. He de­nied that on May 7 last year at the A92 and B0149 Lochgelly in­ter­change, a pub­lic place, on the em­bank­ment of Loch Gelly, he was un­law­fully in pos­ses­sion of a sheath knife and a lock knife.

The trial heard po­lice had found John­stone in pos­ses­sion of the knives af­ter he called them to say he was a landowner and people were poach­ing.

John­stone, who lives in a coun­cil house, told the court he owned a farm in Auchter­tool, hav­ing built it. He also claimed that at one time “all the farm­ers got to­gether and gave me pieces of land”. This in­cluded the path down to the lochside he claimed was “an an­cient right of way but not a pub­lic path”.

The ac­cused, who likes to be known as “Thomas John­stone Esquire”, said he had no doc­u­men­ta­tion to prove he owned any of the land.

Sher­iff Craig Mc­Sh­erry was unim­pressed by John­stone’s claims and told him: “I don’t ac­cept you own the land and there’s no ev­i­dence you’re a farmer or in­volved in any way in farm­ing.”

He found John­stone guilty. De­fence so­lic­i­tor Martin McGuire said his client was on methadone and pre­vi­ously had been sub­ject to a drug treat­ment and test­ing or­der.

The sher­iff called for re­ports and John­stone was re­leased on bail un­til sen­tenc­ing on Oc­to­ber 3.

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