Fife man who vandalised Wallace Monument during independence referendum granted taxi licence

Young was found guilty of damaging the Wallace Monument in 2014.
Young was found guilty of damaging the Wallace Monument in 2014.

A man who vandalised the Wallace Monument during the Scottish independence referendum has been granted a taxi licence in Fife.

James Young, St Mary’s Place, St Andrews, was found guilty of painting the Abbey Craig rocks in Stirling blue in support of the Yes campaign in the weeks before the 2014 vote.

The 48-year-old was handed a community payback order of 150 hours and a fine of £7911 to remove the paint.

At the regulation and licensing committee on Tuesday, Fife Council agreed to grant him a taxi licence.

Councillor David MacDiarmid said: “I really wish he was here so we could judge his character. He has a chance to be in a better place and a better position if he was offered a job to get back on his feet.

“We’ve lifted a lot of people out of these messes at this committee and some have been people with offences as long as two arms and we’re giving them that chance. That would be the direction I would want to go today.”

However, Councillor Ryan Smart moved that he not be granted a licence, saying: ”The point of this committee is for people to come forward and hear about what they’ve learned – but he is not in front of us to answer those questions. If the applicant would’ve been here I probably could have supported it.”

Councillor Richard Watt proposed an amendment to grant the licence with a warning, adding: “His fine and community service appear to be in order. In relation to that period, it is a time that I think everyone was pretty heated. It doesn’t relate to being able to drive a taxi.”

The application, heard without Mr Young being present after he didn’t show up for the third time, produced a tied vote.

Convener Carol Lindsay gave the deciding vote to grant Mr Young a licence with a warning.