Hermit to teach survival skills

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The Independent Online
A HERMIT who spent 20 years living in woods in central Scotland had his sentence for a series of thefts deferred yesterday after he agreed to teach others his survival skills.

Robert Sinclair, 51, nicknamed "Davy Crockett" because of his extraordinary skills in the wild, had pleaded guilty to break-ins across central Scotland, stealing food, clothes and alcohol from caravans and farmhouses.

His thefts were to support his lifestyle, which involved living in barns, makeshift shelters and hollows in the woods.

At one stage, police on horseback were introduced in an attempt to find the pony-tailed loner.

Sinclair's sentencing was deferred for four months yesterday after Stirling Sheriff Court was told he was now going to teach others his outward pursuit skills. He has also been collecting food and clothes for Kosovo refugees.

John McInnes, Sinclair's defence agent, said he was keen to pass on the skills that he had learnt during the past 20 years spent surviving on his wits in the hills and woods of Stirlingshire.

Since being captured, Sinclair has had difficulties adjusting. When he signed on for benefits and was given a pounds 49 crisis loan, it was the first time since the 1970s that he had had money in his pocket. At one point he attempted suicide because he could not cope with the changes.

Yesterday, however, Mr McInnes said Sinclair was settling down and would be taking young people on walking trips to Glencoe.

After the hearing, Sinclair, who has a City and Guilds in horticulture, said: "What I want to do now is grow some strawberries. I couldn't do any gardening when I was in the wild."