A SERIAL motorbike thief who posed with stolen cycles on Facebook has escaped a jail term despite facing more than 30 charges – and received a six-month driving ban.
Jordan Skachill, dubbed the “Red Baron”, was one of the leading bike thieves and joyriders among a gang of north Edinburgh youths who caused chaos on the roads.
A police helicopter was deployed last year to track the tearaways from the skies as they raced around city streets.
Skachill had been charged with 24 counts of stealing motorcycles, cars and mopeds, as well as several other motoring and theft offences.
The 19-year-old appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to nine counts of stealing vehicles and four other charges in front of Sheriff Nigel Ross. The Crown accepted not guilty pleas on the rest.
But the prolific offender walked free with 250 hours of unpaid work, an 18-month community payback order and the half-year driving ban.
Skachill himself expected to be sent to Polmont Young Offenders Institution, posting the jail’s address on his Facebook page and adding: “I’ll be expecting letters!”
The day before his sentencing, Skachill, of Royston Mains Crescent, took to the social networking site to register his annoyance as police officers had been “banging on my door for a good 20 mins”.
A few days previously, he said his lawyer expected him to receive six to 18 months in custody, but he planned to “take it on the chin”.
Skachill also wrote “Love cruising about in cars” and celebrated that his electronic tag would be off in time for Kinross-shire music festival T In The Park.
Scottish Tory justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said: “The public will wonder how crimes as brazen as this have been dealt with by such a light sentence. What makes things worse is this individual, by his subsequent actions, is clearly laughing in the face of the law.
“And given how often these payback orders are never fulfilled, the authorities must ensure this stupid individual – who has caused police and the public untold time, money and inconvenience – undertakes every single minute.”
Skachill pleaded guilty to stealing motor vehicles in Hawthornvale in September 2012, West Pilton Gardens in October 2012, Portland Gardens, West Pilton Place and Hugh Miller Place in December 2012, and Boswall Terrace, Laverockbank Grove, Warriston Road and Restalrig Circus in January last year.
He admitted driving a stolen bike without due care and attention, crashing into a parked trailer and fleeing the scene, as well as driving without a full licence or insurance.
Inspector David Happs, from Drylaw police station, said: “We have charged several youths in connection with the dangerous and antisocial riding of motorbikes in the area. We are also visiting known perpetrators and their parents to reiterate our safety message and to highlight the dangers. We will continue to utilise the police helicopter, other specialist and plain-clothed police resources, as well as CCTV and other evidential opportunities to identify the riders.”