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Nwicker60
05-Oct-12, 17:37
Accused operated a protection racket forcing neighbour to pay him cash sheriff court is told

A WICK man who ran a protection racket, forcing a neighbour to make regular payments from her benefit, was jailed for three years at Wick Sheriff Court yesterday.
Alexander MacAlpine was also made subject to an order preventing him from harrassing Angela Polson.
Passing sentence, Sheriff Andrew Berry said that extortion was "an uncommon and an unwelcome crime", in a part of the world where people generally tried to get on with one another, and he had a duty to ensure that its victims would be protected and that the offenders should receive severe punishment.
MacAlpine ,23, admitted on indictment, putting Ms Polson in a state of fear and alarm and apprehension and extorting money and medication by threats.
The court heard that the accused volunteered to look out for Ms Polson after she moved into Cairndhuna Terrace, Wick, where he lived, on the basis that she might be vulnerable, living alone. But it wasn't a friendly neighbourly gesture.
MacAlpine made it clear that he wanted money in return and, between July 2010 and April 2012, forced her to make regular payments of 150 from her benefit cash. She even had to borrow money from friends and relatives but when that source of cash dried up, she told MacAlpine that she was unable to make any further payments, at least not on a regular basis.
Senior fiscal depute, David Barclay, said that the accused became aware that Ms Polson was taking medication on presecription, and instructed her to hand over diazepam and sleep tablets which then became the method of payment.
Social workers noticed Ms Polson was looking unwell and managed to get to the root of the problem and the matter was reported to the police.
Solicitor Alex Burn said that he accused claimed that he had carried out the extortion to pay off a debt. The person he owed it to, had told him how it could be done and instructed him to "lean" on Ms Polson to get the necessary money.
Mr Burn added that MacAlpine was fearful of reprisals if he didn't go along with the plan.
His prison sentence will be backdated to July 7 when he was arrested.