£200k robbery gang face jail
Trio guilty of break-in at pensioner’s home
Three men who broke into the home of a 76-year-old pensioner and stole more than £200,000 have been told they could face lengthy prison terms.
The warning from Sheriff Brian Mohan at Dumfries came at the end of a six-day trial at which a jury — by a majority — found 51-year-old Colin Clark guilty of the break-in and theft at Carnegie Street in the town last September.
His son Conor Clark, 23, who, like his father, lives at Kelton on the outskirts of the town, and 23-yearold Aaron Gemmell, of Stewartry Court, Dumfries, had previously pleaded guilty to the break-in and theft which also involved 3,000 American dollars and a £20,000 Rolex watch.
Sheriff Mohan told all three that it was evident that the crime had been pre-planned.
Deferring sentence for a month, he called for background reports on Gemmell and Conor Clark.
All three were remanded in custody.
During the six days of the trial only Colin Clark was in the dock as the jury of nine women and six men heard how retired joiner Adam Watret made a daily check on his home while recuperating from an operation, staying with his brother.
He had withdrawn £200,000 from the bank five years earlier and kept it in a large safe in the wardrobe of his bedroom with the cash, mainly £100 notes, sealed and hidden under other items.
But on a check last September he found his two safes both open and the cash gone along with other items including a Rolex watch for which he had paid £20,900.
He described his feelings: “Gutted … heartbroken.”
Police officers described how they made a breakthrough within a week when they learned Conor Clark had been trying to sell a Rolex watched for £6,000 in Annan.
Cops also traced purchases in which £100 notes had been used in cash payments, all of which led to a search of the Clark home at Kelton where two tins each containing more than £30,000 in £100 notes were found in the attic.
During his evidence Colin Clark detailed how he was a carer for his mother at Kelton and stayed there with his son Connor.
Describing his movements on the night before the robbery, he said he carried out an electrical job for a friend at Greystone Avenue, near Carnegie Street.
He had then gone to the Barracuda Club for about two hours before going home to change ahead of visiting a 43-year-old woman at Crathie Avenue about 9.30pm, remaining there until he returned home about half past midnight.
Clark said there had been a threat to his son on social media following a break up in a relationship which he took “very seriously”.
While his son Conor and his friend Aaron Gemmell went to Kingholm Quay where they believed the person responsible for the threat lived, he decided to check the area around his home.
He claimed he spent about two hours checking the riverside path, trails and nearby fields.
On his way home he met the two younger men and gave them a lift in the car.
The jury was out for about three before returning the majority guilty verdict.
Admission Aaron Gemmell
Found guilty Colin Clark