A football fan who led police on a Perthshire riverside hunt after trying to steal a fishing boat from a country house hotel was fined on Thursday.
Souness Clark ran amok at the Ballathie House Hotel after missing the supporters’ bus home and had to be flushed out of the undergrowth by sniffer dogs.
The Rangers fan was found more than 60 miles from the match stadium as police were called in when staff found a lodge filled with fire extinguisher foam.
Clark – born weeks after manager Graeme Souness led the Ibrox team to the 1990 league title – tried to set sail down the river after an all-night bender with friends.
Perth Sheriff Court was told on Thursday that Clark, who had ended up in the area as he had a friend there, was running wild in the hotel grounds more than nine hours after missing the bus back to Glasgow.
The drunken escapade on the River Isla in Perthshire took place after the Scottish League Cup quarter-final against Livingston on September 25 2019.
Fiscal depute Tina Dickie told Perth Sheriff Court: “Three men had been at a football match and missed the supporters’ bus home.
“Ballathie House Hotel received a phone call from a male asking if he could book a room for the night. The three men were given a lodge within the hotel grounds.
“At 8am Souness Clark made his way to the banks of the river. He was then seen jumping into a small fishing boat. He was then seen to try and start the engine by pulling the cord.
“Police officers arrived at the scene and saw the accused standing in one of the boats.
“He was then seen to jump from the boat into the river.
“He then ran along the banks of the river and concealed himself within the shrubs. He remained concealed for about half an hour, and eventually a dog handler attended.
“He was ignoring requests by police to show himself. On seeing the police dog he made his way along the riverbank.
“He fell into the river at one point but was eventually detained by police officers.”
Clark, 30, Inchfad Drive, Glasgow, admitted being found in a vessel on the River Isla at Ballathie Estate in circumstances from which it could be inferred he intended to commit theft.
He was charged alongside cousin James Clark, 30, of Achamore Crescent, Glasgow, but the court was told he had passed away since the incident.
‘Level of intoxication and gross stupidity’
Solicitor Tracy Paterson said: “It was due to the level of intoxication and his gross stupidity that this offence has arisen. He knows alcohol is not an excuse but it gives an explanation for what he did.
“He utterly regrets his actions and can only apologise to the parties involved.”
She added that Clark had suffered a spinal injury and was struggling with bereavement issues in the wake of his cousin’s death from a drug overdose.
She said: “He has been living quite a quiet existence. He has been shielding and not been posing any problems. He has had a lot of time to think during lockdown.
“He has not had a drink for three to four months.”
Sheriff Neil Bowie fined Clark £350 and said: “Your record of previous convictions does you no credit. However, this was from some time ago and it was effectively drunken stupidity.”