A sheriff launched a scathing attack on Scotland's soft-touch justice system on Thursday, after discovering a drug addict was freed to commit more crime just two months after he imposed a 25-month sentence upon her.
Sheriff Lindsay Foulis heart that Pamela Scrimgeour had been freed on a tag after serving just a fraction of the prison sentence he imposed.
He told Perth Sheriff Court: "We may as well put the lights out then and just walk off."
The sheriff had shaken his head in disbelief after realising the authorities had released Scrimgeour by July last year - even though she had been sentenced on May 6.
Sheriff Foulis totted up the sentences imposed last year and said: "Am I right in thinking she got 25 months in total? Then by 13 July she is out on a tag?"
He was told that as a result of some of the sentences being made concurrent, Scrimgeour had effectively been given a total of 21 months, backdated for a short period to when she was remanded in custody.
Sheriff Foulis said: "And that was for three breaches of bail; four offences committed whilst on bail; and a breach of probation.
"So we have got someone sentenced to effectively 21 months who has got a history, and indeed a recent history, of failing to comply with bail orders, offending whilst on bail.
"And yet she is out after a quarter of her sentence and surprise, surprise, she breaches her tag. The backdated period couldn't be much more than three months, so she has served at most, five and a half months."
Scrimgeour, 23, of Greyfriars Hostel, Perth, was jailed last May in connection with a total of 13 offences including theft, housebreaking, misuse of drugs and breaching court orders.
She was released on a tag in July and admitted being caught with a bag of heroin in Scott Street, Perth, on July 20. Sentence was deferred for reports.
At the end of last year, Sheriff Foulis hit out after finding out a drug dealer was freed three months after being jailed for 21 months. Darren Fraser spent just 12 weeks behind bars before being sent home with a tag by prison chiefs despite being jailed for nearly two years.