The parents of Shetland teenager who was jailed for three years for pointing an air rifle and threatening to fire at armed police say they may appeal against the sentence.
Paul Barlow, of Wester Skeld, said he and his wife Ruth had been heartened by the public support they have received since their son Sam was sentenced on Wednesday.
An online petition calling on Lerwick Sheriff Court to reconsider the case of the 16-year-old has attracted almost 500 signatures in less than 24 hours.
The court had been told Barlow caused “the utmost fear and alarm” in the Westerloch and Murrayston areas of Lerwick on September 23, after threatening to shoot at armed police officers and local people trapped in their houses.
Mr Barlow said he was in no doubt that his son deserved to be punished – but more than anything else he needed help.
The family had hoped for a more lenient sentence that would allow the teenager to stay in the community and deal with his mental difficulties.
Mr Barlow said: “I am very pleased that most of Shetland people think that Sam should be getting treatment rather than being locked up for a long time.
“I think we have grounds for appeal because Sam did not get a third off for the early plea, and obviously the sheriff has not taken Samuel’s emotional and psychological problems into account.
“I think we have a number of areas where we could appeal, but obviously it is too early to say.”
The online petition was started by Shetland College student William McCover just hours after Barlow was jailed.
Mr McCover said: “The people of Shetland need to challenge this. I am really happy to see that there is such a strong following of the petition already.
“Getting him the help he needs and giving him a hand trying to get rehabilitated to society is going to be far more beneficial than sending the boy to jail.”
Writing on the petition page, Barlow’s mother Ruth said her son had been “isolated from his family through the internet and isolated further through the judicial system”.
She added: “He needs family support and proper help and assessment so that he can learn to cope with society. A prison cannot do this and will make his problems 10 times worse.