A teenager who forced a freight train to make a “terrifying” emergency stop because he wanted police to give him a lift home hurled a volley of racist abuse at a takeaway owner.
Aidan Clark ran onto the tracks in front of an oncoming goods locomotive and its string of trucks at Falkirk Grahamston Station after his initial request that officers should take him home was rebuffed.
Prosecutor Melissa Phillips said police had received calls from members of the public saying that youths were causing a nuisance in Newmarket Street, in Falkirk town centre on February 22 this year.
Officers searched the area and found the youths on nearby Melville Street.
Ms Phillips said: “They were obnoxious and demanded that the police take them home.
“The role of the police was explained to them.
“Clark ran then away and straight across the train tracks.
“He was narrowly missed by a passing goods train, which had to perform an emergency stop.”
Ms Phillips, the depute fiscal, added: “This alarmed the driver, and also caused financial loss to the railway, due to the cost of stopping trains.
“Clark was traced by the police.
“He confirmed it was not a suicide attempt but an effort to cause the officers to give him a lift home.”
The court heard that Clark, then 18, was not arrested at that point.
However, he was charged after other incidents, including one a few weeks later in a fast food takeaway in nearby Camelon when he and a female teenager entered despite being both barred from the premises, and were asked to leave.
They did so, but as one of the staff stood at the door to make sure they were leaving the area, Clark turned and shouted: “You’re just as black as your shop”.
Police were called and the teens were at a nearby bus stop. They were arrested, with Clark shouting racial epithets at police.
Clark, 19, of Falkirk, who has since moved to West Lothian, pleaded guilty to breach of the peace, racially aggravated conduct, threatening and abusive behaviour and bail offences.
Solicitor Marcell Horvath defending, said: “There are clear issues here in relation to what constitutes responsible behaviour.
“Mr Clark has taken steps to decrease his alcohol use.
“The incident involving the train could have resulted, unfortunately, in a much more tragic outcome than financial damage to the railway.”
He added Clark was currently on benefits, but was “not shy of work” and hoping to get his CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card shortly and begin work.
Sheriff Craig Harris told Clark: “This would have utterly terrified the train driver.
“If you carry on like this you’ll end up spending your twenties in a Young Offenders’ Institution.”
He placed Clark on social work supervision for 18 months, and handed him an 85 day restriction of liberty order, during which he will have to wear an electronic ankle tag and remain at home from 8pm to 5am.