FISHERMAN James Carlyle is planning a quick return to sea to forget

the four months during which he had been branded a ''ghoulish looter''

in the aftermath of the PanAm Jumbo jet disaster at Lockerbie.

He was cleared yesterday, at the end of a four-day trial, of stealing

a sheepskin jacket from a field next to the crater where many of the 270

victims died when the airliner crashed.

After the jury had returned a majority verdict of not guilty at

Dumfries Sheriff Court, his solicitor, Mr Joe Beltrami, said: ''He was

delighted with the verdict . . . this has been hanging over him for four

months and he is going back to sea to forget it.''

But Carlyle, 28, was convicted on two charges of shouting at police

and committing a breach of the peace in Annan two days after the

disaster as well as two charges involving breach of bail, and was

sentenced to six months' imprisonment, backdated to his first court

appearance on December 28.

Mr Beltrami added: ''He will be free in a week and return to a fishing

job in Kirkcudbright.''

Carlyle, who claimed in evidence that he was now of no fixed address

as his council home in Wood Avenue, Annan, had been taken from him while

he was in custody, denied stealing the jacket, identified as having been

salvaged along with a few other possessions by a survivor before his

home in Sherwood Crescent, Lockerbie, went up in flames.

He had also denied assaulting and struggling with police and breach of

bail conditions.

Carlyle had lodged a special defence of impeachment, naming his

''mate,'' Mr William Dobbie, 42, of Fernlea Crescent, Annan.

At the conclusion of evidence, Mr Beltrami told the jury that for

someone to have something stolen in such circumstances as the Lockerbie

tragedy was ''monstrous, ghoulish, and repulsive.'' But he pled with the

jury not to let sympathy for the victims blind it to having a proper

look at the evidence before it.

The jury took just 40 minutes to return its majority verdict.

Mr Beltrami said that Carlyle, who admitted 20 previous convictions,

had already served 117 days, and asked Sheriff Lewis Cameron to allow

him to return to sea.