A MAN who threatened to burn down his own mother’s home during an attempted extortion bid has avoided a custodial sentence.

Connor Sands made the threat to set fire to the property occupied by his mum while the woman was sleeping inside.

Sands made the comment in a bid to get his mum to hand over a sum of cash after she had previously refused him.

Sands, of Abbots View, Haddington, also made threats to kill or injure his mother’s partner and to destroy his business assets, including vehicles, if she did not give in to him.

Following the fire threats, the police were contacted and Sands was subsequently arrested and charged.

The 29-year-old appeared on indictment at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last year to admit the offence and sentence had been deferred due to the fact that Sands was already serving a 16-month jail sentence at HMP Perth for a previous offence.

READ MOREConnor Sands: Threatened to set fire to home of his own mother

He was released from that sentence in November and returned to the Capital court for sentencing on the extortion bid in front of Sheriff Kenneth Campbell KC last Wednesday.

Previously, lawyer Nigel Beaumont, representing Sands, told the court that his client had been “very close to his mother” at one point but his drug addiction had “caused a schism” between them.

The lawyer said that “a drug debt” had led him to carry out the “unpleasant behaviour” of threatening his mother and he was “very, very sorry and ashamed” for making the threats.

Mr Beaumont told the court: “His mother gave him money in the past but she became more robust.”

Sheriff Campbell described the offence as “a particularly shocking thing to do to your mother”.

Last Wednesday, Sheriff Campbell sentenced Sands to be placed under the supervision of the local social work department for the next 15 months and said he must carry out 160 hours of unpaid work in the community, to be completed within 12 months.

The sheriff also issued a conduct requirement which means that Sands must engage with the local substance misuse services when required to do so by his supervising officer.

Sands pleaded guilty to menacing his mother and putting her in a state of fear that she would be injured or killed, and that her partner would be injured or killed, between June 24 and August 14, 2021.

The indictment also stated that Sands threatened to destroy the business assets of his mother’s partner and that persons would attend his mother’s home and use violence against the couple, while he also threatened to set fire to her home while she was asleep and attempted to extort money from her.