Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Missed me – again

The recent spate of violence in Glasgow was noted not only by me (since I kind of walk through some of it), but was also flagged up by the media.

Usually, when I try to lighten things a little with a ‘Missed me – again’ post, the reason is usually down to a walking route change, and finding some errant vehicle has clobbered something on a spot where I might have been walking, had I been there at the time.

Occasionally, it has noted a shooting, or worse.

The only possible positive note has been that such things usually take place at odd times.

Not so the most recent – ATM cash stolen in ‘terrifying’ armed robbery

An armed robber dressed in a “hi-vis” jacket took at least £10,000 from a worker delivering cash to an ATM in the east end of Glasgow.

The “shocking” incident happened at about 11.55 as the 57-year-old security guard approached the Tesco store in Annick Street in Shettleston.

The robber took the money box before making off in a small white car, later found burnt out nearby.

That in order of a mile from me, or 20 minutes’ walking. Pretty close.

The notable thing was the blatant timing of 11:55 – lunchtime.

Since I’m not a Tesco groupie I don’t have any pics, and I’m not going out for one, so this handy Street View capture will have to do:

Tesco ATMs

Tesco ATMs

I gave up  ‘normal’ shopping hours years ago, and started shopping at 2 or 3 am when the first 24-hour Tesco opened in Glasgow – it’s like having the shop to yourself. While the circumstances that made that my norm have gone, I still do most of my shopping last thing at night, usually on the way home, and avoid any sort of daytime shopping if at all possible – the queues are insane.

So, while I was actually there later, there was no sign of what had happened, and I only learned of it much later, when I looked at the news.

It’s not the closest…

One incident of ‘Shots fired’ at a house half a mile away.

Or the most serious…

I didn’t know at the time, but two-thirds of a mile away I passed a dying murder victim who had just left a pub – but at that moment it just looked like a bunch of kids around a drunk mate. The truth only came to light a few minutes later as it hit the news very quickly.

There was a closer incident, the theft of a number of cars, but that doesn’t really count as it happened in the middle of the night, and nobody was involved as it was not discovered until the dealer’s opened in the morning.

Update

To my shame, I can now be classed as a ‘Supermarket photographer’…

Although laden with shopping, I just couldn’t resist the urge to  have my own current pic of this Tesco, so grabbed this as I left last night.

And a hearty ‘Thank You’ to the driver of the white car, which parked in front of the subject (the ATMs) just as I pressed the shutter.

Shettleston Tesco ATMs

Shettleston Tesco ATMs

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July 30, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Compare and contrast ‘camera offenders’

I just made a post expressing some concern over the circumstances of a man who was arrested for drink-driving, and ended being placed on the Sex Offenders Register for taking pictures in public places, albeit while under the influence of drink.

Although he did not commit any actual offence (he foolishly admitted a Breach of the Peace (basically acknowledged to be a catch-all if no actual charge exists), or break any laws, he was also handed a 5 year camera ban.

Photography can be risky in the UK – just having a camera might get you into trouble

But only a few hours later I read news of someone who was clearly doing something ‘wrong’, with covert cameras hidden in toilets, and some 700 videos obtained using secret ‘filming’:

A finance director at Glasgow’s biggest social landlord hid spy-cams in the toilets at his workplace to secretly film colleagues.

Mark Logan, 48, walked free from Glasgow Sheriff Court despite admitting to secretly filming almost 700 videos including hundreds in the Wheatley Group office toilets between May 2015 and May 2016.

Logan, of Tweedsmuir Crescent in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of sexual assault when he appeared at court in March this year.

When confronted about the videos he told bosses: “I am ashamed, I have been bottling it up for 20 years and don’t want to be gay.”

Logan, who has been placed on the sex offenders register, planted the cameras in digital clocks at the firm’s head office on Cochrane Street where he was employed until the recording devices were found last year.

The court heard Logan, who no longer works at the firm, also carried out the crime while on business trips to Edinburgh and London by filming colleagues against their knowledge.

In one video, he could be seen putting a device at the bedside table of one of his victims.

Via: Finance director secretly filmed workmates on toilet

Covert Digital Clock Camera

Covert Digital Clock Camera

As I noted in the first post, as regards the first case I mentioned…

But, I’m sorry, I don’t really see the problem with his video, taken in a public place.

Yet this second case has NO QUESTION regarding deliberate intent, planning, and clearly involved secret or covert ‘filming’…

His actions were not carried out in public, he was not even (as the first was said to be) ‘Under the influence’, and he was not doing anything that could, in any way, be said to be legitimately claimed to fall under Photographer’s Rights in the UK, or I suspect in most countries.

Yet the accused “walked free”.

This really does make the first case I mentioned look like even more of farce than it did a few hours ago, and more one of prudes or the ‘morally affronted’ making an example of someone that they think should taught a lesson.

 

May 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Surveillance | , , , | Leave a comment

Thugs on bikes head to court in US after beating driver and threatening family

 
 
 

Grumpy goodness

Although the media has been happy to refer to the thugs involved in this incident as ‘bikers’, I prefer not to reinforce the misnomer, as the story is really about thugs who happened to be on bikes when they decided to victimise a family that was unfortunate enough to be on the piece of road they had decided was ‘theirs’. It was a gang of thugs out to cause (and were causing) trouble, and they just happened to be on bikes.

I’ve been following this from the moment it hit the news, and been wondering what would happen as the story developed and became ever more involved.

I won’t try to summarise this. There have been many items published regarding the circumstances and they can be referred to for background, some are given in the quote below.

What is more relevant today is the announcement that accused are going to court on charges, and that there does not seem to be any cover-up regarding some of those who were present on the day.

There’s an interesting point raised on liability, where one of the thugs (who claims to have been paralysed, and has hired a famous lawyer to sue the driver who was beaten up) has his ultimate position summed up as being a joke. Well, not really, because this is far from funny, but the anchor avoid comment, while a lawyer explains that the person he should be suing is not the driver, but the person who instigated this attack, as his actions are the  ones that led to his injuries and condition (assuming this supposed victim is not actually feigning his injuries for the purpose of a massive lawsuit.)

Charges have now been issued after last month’s attack on a New York City Range Rover driver. Eleven bikers have been hit with 14 counts for their involvement in the attack, including an undercover cop.

The charges include assault, criminal mischief, and rioting. The 32-year old undercover police officer was one of the people on the scene, and he faces charges of first degree assault, rioting, and coercion charges.

He faces 25 years in prison if convicted.1

Related:

Undercover Cop Stood By As Bikers Beat Range Rover Driver

Via: 11 Bikers Charged In Hollywood Stuntz Attack On NYC Range Rover

 

November 12, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Luxury cars stolen on my doorstep

I pass the Sherwood Garage on a daily basis, and usually see at least one offering that catches my eye, although I have to admit that the trend for Chelsea Tractors has lessened that occurrence in recent years. But the remaining stock is generally from the more upward end of the car food chain, and even the exotic on occasion. A few years ago, it even got some of my business when a fairly rare car showed up in the lot. And in a strange turn of events, I even have a set of architect’s plans for the site, from the days when it was a real garage, and sold petrol.

These days, I just like to walk past (note, walk) and watch out for the occasional Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls, or similar toy that appears in the yard, as they seem to have access to just about anything, regardless of price.

Sherwood Garage

Unfortunately, when I browsed the news this morning, the news was not so good, with an overnight raid seeing six cars taken from the yard at some time between 11 pm Sunday night and 1 am Monday morning.

Luxury cars stolen in Glasgow garage raid

Sherwood Garage, Baillieston, has cars stolen in £80,000 raid | News | Glasgow | STV

The vehicles taken were: a Jaguar X Type, black Porsche Boxster, a black Porsche Cayenne, a silver Audi S3, a black Ford Focus ST, and a blue Ford, which police said were valued between £75,000 and £80,000.

That shows they were after the easy to move stuff, as there are often single cars sitting there that with that price on their windscreen, but they are easy to spot, and more specialised.

I suppose the disappointing thing is to have something like this happen on what amounts to your own doorstep, rather than somewhere far away.

Anyone with information relating to the theft from the used car garage is asked to call Shettleston Police Office on 0141 532 4800.

The reports suggest the thieves broke into the office where the keys were kept, and this is something that has had me puzzled for years, more so when the keys are now generally paired to the cars, and immobilisers and/or alarms are standard, and reasonably effective to all but an “expert”. The downside of this success is that thefts now begin not with breaking into the car, but breaking into the garage (or home) first, to get the keys. When I’ve been at such places and checking or buying a car, I’ve never understood the logic that has most of them with the keys hanging on boards on the wall, meaning that it does not take a great deal of thought to work out the easiest way to steal cars from the forecourt. Not putting them in a safe, or taking them off-site seems lax, and almost an invitation.

I was also amused by the Police statement where Detective Constable Graham Harries said:

There is a local bar, close to the garage and I am appealing to anyone who may have been in the pub or in the area around the time of the theft.

It’s possible people came outside to smoke a cigarette and may have seen activity at the garage. I am appealing to anyone who has any information or knowledge to get in touch with us.

Many years ago I had the “good luck” to be rammed from behind by a kid in his shiny new turbo Fiesta, while I was waiting to turn right almost outside the pub door. I’d been watching the kid in my rear view mirror, and he was doing anything but looking where he was going, or paying attention to the road as he was having a good laugh with his mate in the passenger seat, and I had really hoped for a break in the oncoming traffic to get out of his way. But there was no gap, and when he arrived where I was waiting, he was still looking at his mate and laughing.

Despite happening at the door of the pub, not one of the guys who had been downing their pints there saw a thing when I asked.

Sherwood Garage

May 22, 2013 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , , , | Leave a comment

Warning as rural fuel thefts double in a year

Oil drum barrelI picked up on this last year, as the cold snap appeared to be the cause: More heating oil thefts

Clearly an unfortunate side effect of the cold, as those who were thieving then have decided that there a handy source of easy income to be had.

Police are warning homeowners to be vigilant following a huge increase in the theft of heating oil from rural properties.

The number of fuel thefts has more than doubled this year, according to a new crime report.

Farms in remote parts of Scotland are an easy target for a growing number of fuel thieves.

Domestic fuel is now one of the most common targets for thieves in the countryside, and as a result the cost of oil heating has soared.

In the first half of the year, almost £250,000 of oil, or “liquid gold” as it is becoming know, was stolen from rural properties in Scotland.

via Warning as rural fuel thefts double in a year | Highlands & Islands | STV News.

I was mildly surprised to see the Dragons (on BBC Two Programmes – Dragons’ Den) turn down a pair who had developed a system for monitoring remotely located fuel storage tanks, and issuing and automated alert if the fuel was removed in a suspicious manner.

They seemed to have two reservations: first was the designers’ unwillingness to reveal any detail of how the system identified a suspicious change in level, or the criteria used; and second was the Dragons’ assertion that existing fuel systems were already capable of monitoring levels remotely, and of alerting a central monitor that the tank was being emptied, when the level would fall, and trigger an automatic signal. Usually used to initiate an order to refill the tank for the customer, the Dragons seemed to think this system could do the same as the ‘new’ on, probably with little change as it was already in place, so rendered the ‘new’ system a bad investment.

Without knowing the details the inventors would not disclose on television, it’s hard to decide if an opportunity was missed.

But, if the existing remote monitoring and ordering systems were not being redesigned and sold with new security options, somebody in those businesses should be sent home – and told not to bother coming (tomorrow, or again).

It’s sad that the only industry that seems to be booming is crime.

Here we have theft of fuel.

Around the country, there is an epidemic of metal theft, with war memorial having their plaques ripped off, railways having live cabling ripped out using stolen construction vehicles, BT lines being ripped up, bronze statues, gates, metal roofs, and many other items being stolen to be sold for pennies in comparison to their value – and cost to replace for the owner.

Rail services are disrupted, telephone and internet connection are lost, local electricity supplies are cut off, and many people are severely distressed by the lack of respect to those remembered on memorials. The latter can also be the only record in some cases, so irrecoverable historic records of names are also lost.

These thieves need to be dealt with, as do the unscrupulous scrap metal dealers who are happy to part with cash for items that they know are stolen.

There are now stories appearing in the media that special police operations are being set up to target these criminals, and there are further calls for cash dealing in scrap metal to be ended, meaning that anyone doing so must be breaking the law, and cannot plead ignorance of the stolen nature of the material being dealt.

Still going on in 2012

Police in the Borders have urged businesses to be on their guard after a spate of diesel thefts in the region.

The latest incident happened at a yard on Sprouston Road in Kelso at 00:15.

The Whitlaw Industrial Estate in Lauder was also targeted sometime between 8 and 11 January.

A police spokesman said there had been a “marked increase” in such crimes and asked businesses and the public to report any suspicious activity near HGVs or industrial estates.

Via: BBC News – Lauder and Kelso diesel raids spark fuel warning

December 22, 2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , | Leave a comment

More heating oil thefts

Oil drum barrelUnfortunately, it looks as if what appeared to be a seasonal aberration – the theft of heating oil in the Highlands – is set to become more prevalent, with stories of travelling criminals coming in from Northumbria and through Dumfries and Galloway. The quiet, rural areas of the Scottish Borders would seem to be ideal for such gangs to operate without being noticed.

Not only are homes being targeted, but haulage businesses and forestry construction sites – one losing almost 2,000 litres of red diesel.

Many places are relatively isolated, making things easier for the thieves, especially if the storage is remote from occupied places.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, for the police to be present everywhere, and the best they have been able to do is advise owners to increase security around their tanks, fence them off to restrict access, and fit security lighting.

Not surprisingly, steadily rising fuel prices are said to be the reason for the rise in these thefts.

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Heating oil crisis?

Oil drum barrelIt looks as if heating oil became a source of panic and crisis over the recent cold spell, and it looks as if there were two causes. What seems to be less clear is whether or not there had to be.

We used to have oil-fired central heating, then the price of oil went up… and it had to go. In its heyday, we consumed the contents of a 600 gallon tank (600 UK gallons = 2,728 litres) such that we had to have it filled twice a year, sometimes maybe three times. That doesn’t mean we emptied it every time, rather we never allowed it to reach a level such that we were not ready for winter, and some crisis in supply.

I think it’s maybe called something like ‘Planning ahead’, or ‘Accepting responsibility for yourself’, or maybe even both.

Regardless, we understood we were not on any sort of fixed supply line like gas or electricity that was not down to us to maintain, and recognised that we were responsible for having heating oil in place, with a contingency in reserve. If we froze, then there was only one party responsible, and all we had to do was look in the mirror to find out who.

That’s why I have little or no sympathy for those referred to in this report about heating oil. To use one of the words of the complainants, the only ‘outrageous’ thing I can see it that they seem to expect sympathy for either for failing to plan for their own security, or have tried to play at price brinkmanship with the suppliers, and got caught out.

In any event, had they not all waited until the last minute, there would have been no ‘shortage’, or need for the Scottish Government to describe deliveries totalling 1.8 million litres that arrived by ship to Inverness and Aberdeen on December 20 as ‘vital’.

I guarantee they won’t learn, and there will be a new batch of non-planners and price-gamblers ready to provide another ‘oil crisis’ headline next year.

However…

More serious in deserving of sympathy are those who find themselves affected by theft. They didn’t have a choice – and since they must have had enough oil in their tanks to make it worth stealing, are also the ones who acted responsibly and were ready for the cold.

Thefts of heating oil from properties in parts of the Highlands rose during the prolonged period of bad weather last year, police have said.

In a report, Northern Constabulary said domestic oil tanks may also have been targeted because of the current financial climate.

Thefts were reported in Ross and Cromarty and Lochaber.

They have done nothing wrong, but find themselves without oil and heating when they need it most, thanks to the attention of the lowest rubbish that we have to share space with, and are happy to indulge in potentially life-threatening crimes simply for their own personal gain. I doubt any of the thefts were for personal use.

Thinking back, our tank would probably have been relatively safe from such an attack. Being large, it was made from substantial steel plate, and was plumbed in to a remote filling point (so could not be back-syphoned. Even full, it made a noise like thunder of bumped. I can think of a couple of way it could have been stolen from, but these could also have been secured fairly simply.

Modern tanks seem to particularly vulnerable. They are smaller and lighter, and seem to have more vulnerable fittings. There also seems to be a tendency to fit them closer to the road for easy access, to make things easier for the delivery driver. Unfortunately, that makes it easier for anyone to get to.

We didn’t realise how glad we were to see our oil-fired system go when we could replace it with gas. For one thing, it was more reliable, cleaner, and didn’t smell, and it was only after a year or two we came to realise that the old system has been the source of an extremely fine black soot that was barely noticeable, but had been coating everything for years.

< a title=”BBC News – Heating oil prices: Your stories” href=”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12014562” target=”_blank”>BBC News – Heating oil prices: Your stories</a>

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poke in the eye for English thugs

CameraI referred to the Thugs of Broughton back in April, when a group of villagers were whipped up into a mob by one ringleader who took exception to Google’s Street View camera car driving along the public road and taking pictures. He led them to surround the car and forced the driver to turn around and leave, rather than risk further provocation, and escalating the confrontation.

Their justification for this intimidation was the protection of their property,  and the ringleader, one Paul Jacobs who formed the posse to surround the car driver stated that the had been three burglaries there in the last six weeks (and without the help of Street View too!), stating: “If our houses are plastered all over Google, it’s an invitation for more criminals to strike”.

In reality, it would seem that fat from causing crime, Street View is being used to solve it, and it has been reported that two street robbers were apprehended thanks to Google Street View imagery in the Netherlands.

Last September a 14-year-old boy was robbed in Groningen. In March, the boy was looking at Street View and realised that imagery had been recorded just before the robbery took place, and showed the two men. He applied to Google for the uncensored imagery, and Google obliged. Police were subsequently able to identify both of the muggers.

There are other instances of such occurrences, but the stories are anecdotal, and so far at least, no-one sent me links to online sources to verify the tales, so I’m not including them.

In any case, it’s my opinion that while such cases will certainly exist, they will be the exception.

Despite the fact that many people still seem to hold the mistaken belief that Street View is some sort of live image that can be homed in on like some sort of magic or mystical global CCTV, the reality is that they images are archival stills, and record only a past moment in time. This means that unless some incident happened to take place at the moment the image was being recorded, there’s no way Street View can be “rewound” to replay some past moment in time.

Historic records

On a more positive note, Google has begun to receive requests from the victims of major disasters that have taken place since Street View images began being recorded.

In many cases, the Street View images represent the only complete record of some of these communities, destroyed by events such as floods and earthquakes. Google has responded by looking at ways of preserving these images for future reference, presumably much in the same way as can already be found in Google Earth, where a timeline of the available satellite imagery can be referred to, and changes to the terrain viewed over the years (when such material is available) can be seen.

July 14, 2009 Posted by | Maps | , , | Leave a comment

Paddy’s Market traders swept aside – maybe

Being fairly uninterested in anything political, I’ve never really bothered about the local stories that suggest you better not try and get in the way of Glasgow Council if it’s set its mind on something, especially if it’s a pie it might happen to have its finger in, and just dismissed them as the grumblings of a few malcontents.

I may be wrong.

Currently, the council is intent on leasing part of Pollok Park, an area gifted to the city (ie not to the council for it to lease for gain), to a private venture and allowing ‘High Wire Forest Adventure’ operator Go Ape to create one of its aerial assault courses and walkway in a secluded area of the country park’s woodland. The council has a clear financial interest, and surprisingly has voted in favour of the development, despite much local opposition and little support.

The council is also intent on sweeping away Paddy’s Market from its home on a site leased from Network Rail, too close to the city’s High Court, and described by the council as a “crime hot spot”. An executive committee has approved a report on the future of Paddy’s Market, by 13 votes to 4 – the report recommended that the council take over the lease of Shipbank Lane with a rent of £100,000 per year, and stated that the council could “positively raise the profile of the area over the next five years” and possibly operate a new market and arts-related development. It means the authority can now go-ahead with plans to regenerate the area around the lane, which the council has described as a “crime hot spot”.

The local SNP councillor voted against the plan, saying “Traders must be given the opportunity to negotiate new sub-lets with the council before their leases with Network Rail are terminated.”

The traders don’t want to be thrown out, those that work there don’t want to be thrown out, those that buy and sell there don’t want to lose the place (and just because the council call it a “crime hot spot” doesn’t mean it is), but some sort of trendy arts-related development near the re-vamped Glasgow Green would bring in bigger wallets, and make it easier to have a swipe at The Barras in a few years, and take that area more up-market too, to take advantage of the tidy-up there, and the re-siting of the Doulton Fountain.

Update

The above was being rattled together in spare moments while I was fighting with our recent server move.

Having had a quick scout around for any new information, I discovered a web site devoted to the whole affair, which I hadn’t seen appear during earlier searches, and which reports that the there may be a U-turn in the plans, and that they may be prepared to incorporate the current and legitimate traders – maybe.

There’s on online petition on the Save Paddy’s Market web site.

And an article and video news item on stv.tv

September 19, 2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wind farm crime

When I spotted a news item with the title Gang caught with wind farm copper I thought I was going to read about something I had been waiting for, since the light-fingered brigade generally seem to be willing candidates for Darwin Awards, and will grab anything that’s not screwed down if they think they can make a fast buck, or two, if they can get the screws as well!

While it could have been about something imaginative, and a little bit dangerous, involving the removal of copper from a wind farm in a distant, desolate, and isolated location in back of beyond, with no-one in sight for mile around, leaving  the light-fingered laddies the freedom to hack into the wind farm hardware and hack out all the valuable metal, it turned out to be little more than a common or garden tawdry take of theft and reset, and by someone who made relative “coppers” from thousands of pounds worth of stolen material.

In this case, a van and load of copper – the rolls of copper wire taken from Drumderg wind farm near Alyth, were worth around £6,000 – were sold for £150, or maybe £500, I can’t tell for sure as the BBC’s reporter seems to have some difficulty in forming his article coherently, and even managed to switch between “group” and “gang” when referring to the three accused, and change the leader’s name from “Boyle” to “Doyle”, thereby preserving anonymity.

In any event, it’s a sad reflection that such expensive hauls go for so little, meaning that the volume of crimes committed has to stay high to make committing them worthwhile.

I wonder if anyone ever has considered targeting lonely wind farms for the materials they contain? They’re miles away from civilisation in many cases, automated and unmanned, meaning that even when their remotely controlled systems flash up some sort of alert in their control centres, it could still be hours before anyone is despatched to see what the cause is, by which time anyone there would be well gone. Assuming they hadn’t made a mistake, and forgotten to isolate the electrics, or accidentally touched a live wire of course.

June 4, 2008 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Traders will fight for Paddy’s market

Traders from Glasgow’s Paddy’s Market look set to try and thwart Glasgow City council plan to commandeer their patch, and turn it into yet another manufactured tourist attraction, perhaps modelled after the dreadful Glasgow:Scotland with style enigma, which I find offensive every time I see it – and I live there!

Stallholders at the market, established there for some 200 years in one form or another, have proposed acquiring the lease for the area from Network Rail by setting up a no-for-profit trust to run the market, rather than having it taken over by the council, and having it sterilised under council plans to regenerate the area.

The traders say they would fence off the area, and check the background of those trading there, to help cut crime in the area, which the council describes as “a crime ridden midden”.

May 16, 2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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