A Motherwell football fan who set off a smokebomb during a match with local rivals Hamilton has been locked up for five months.
Calum Smith was described in court as an “exemplary” young soldier as his lawyer pleaded for him not to be sent to custody.
However, Smith was slammed by a sheriff who said such “dangerous” actions were on the increase and must be treated seriously.
Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that the 18-year-old was “masked and hooded” when he set off the flare at Hamilton’s New Douglas Park in September last year.
Around 1,500 ’Well fans were said to be in the North Stand at the time.
Smith then changed his clothes in a bid to avoid detection, but his actions were captured on CCTV and he was arrested.
Smith, of Barr Terrace, Kirkmuirhill, near Lanark, was given bail at court two days later and banned from every regulated football match in the UK until his trial.
However, he defied that order and turned up at Fir Park for the next derby on January 2.
Smith admitted culpable and reckless conduct which put fellow supporters in danger and breaching the bail order.
Defence agent Ali Murray said background reports on Smith were “very favourable” and suggested a hefty fine or unpaid community work could be imposed as an alternative to custody.
Mr Murray said: “My client’s commanding officer is with him in court this morning. He describes him as an exemplary young soldier.
“However, he will be subject to military discipline after this case.”
Sheriff Vincent Smith was handed a supportive letter from the army, but told the accused custody was the only appropriate sentence.
Sheriff Smith said: “You were seen with your face masked and wearing a hood. You set off the smokebomb and placed it on the ground. It expelled a significant amount of coloured smoke.
“You say you bought this on the internet and had no control over its contents.
“Smokebombs are noxious and potentially toxic. They are dangerous to those with respiratory problems, particularly asthma, and there is the very real potential of causing panic in those confined to the immediate vicinity who have no knowledge of what has been ignited.
“This presents a clear and obvious danger, and immediate action is needed from those charged with ensuring the safety of all those present, especially young children.
“You knew what you were doing and made efforts to conceal your identity. The court takes a serious view of this type of conduct which seems to be on the increase.”
The sheriff also imposed a two-year football banning order on Smith.