A 24-year-old man who got high on drink and drugs before scaling a 200ft TV mast sparked a 12 and a half hour stand-off with police.
Yesterday at Inverness Sheriff Court, Steven Urquhart was jailed for 16 months.
The court heard how Urquhart scaled the perimeter fence of the Mounteagle site on the Black Isle and climbed the mast.
He stripped to the waist and entered into a stand-off with police negotiators – but eventually had to be rescued by rope experts when he got cold and lost his footing.
Sentence had been deferred in December on Urquhart, of Cameron Crescent, Munlochy, because of concerns about his mental health.
But Inverness Sheriff Court heard yesterday that he had been psychologically assessed and only required assistance for alcohol and substance abuse.
His lawyer Clare Russell said his addictions formed the background to his offending.
Urquhart had admitted failing to appear for a hearing on November 8, as well as three other offences. He pleaded guilty to conducting himself in a disorderly manner at the Mounteagle transmitter on September 4 this year and en route to Raigmore Hospital.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood was told that the stand-off started just after 8am and ended at 8.45pm when Urquhart pleaded for help after nearly falling off the tower.
Fiscal depute Ross Carvel said staff at the Arqiva tv mast saw Urquhart climb over the perimeter fence when they turned up for work and then carry on up the tower.
They called the police, and ambulance and Fire and Rescue service including rope access experts and police negotiators attended.
Mr Carvel said: “Initially he was uncooperative, took his top off, drank alcohol and was abusive to everyone, causing a prolonged stand-off which went into the evening. At one stage he was hanging from one arm.
“But his tone changed when, only wearing his jeans, the temperature had begun to drop. He attempted to climb down and was dangling helplessly from one arm after he lost his footing.
“He was perilously close to falling, panicked, and was shouting ‘I don’t want to die.’ He was able to climb back into the cage at the top.”
Mr Carvel said that the rope access experts then moved in to put him in a harness and take him down. Urquhart was then treated at Raigmore Hospital.
Miss Russell added: “He knows he needs to address his illicit substance and alcohol abuse but has made it clear to me that he won’t comply with any order while he is at liberty. It leaves the court only one choice.”
Urquhart was also dealt with on other charges committed before the TV mast incident. He admitted resisting arrest at his home address on December 6, 2017, and to a knife possession charge also at the Mounteagle transmitter on April 21 this year.
In addition, Urquhart had breached a community payback order, imposed for obstructing emergency workers at Muirtown Basin in 2017.
His sentence was backdated to November 15.