Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Polish fire on the Clyde

Remember the (presumably stolen) suitcase I came across on the banks of the Clyde last week?

Click the thumb for bigger reminder:

Polish On The Clyde

I was along the same path this week, and guess what?

Someone took an intense dislike to the case and stuff still inside, and set fire to it.

You should be able to recognise the spot, but there’s no case there now, just some charred remains.

Funny thing – they left all the books and papers scattered around the spot untouched. They might have taken the time to throw them on the fire and at least tidy the spot up a little.

Polish Fire

Polish Fire

One good thing – I found a nice new ballpoint pen there this time.


May 31, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Polish on the Clyde

It’s funny how some spots of the River Clyde’s banks seem to collect rubbish, while others seem to stay clean, and the odds of finding something interesting (carried along and dumped by the river seem to be low.

I’ve mentioned this before, and think the reason is down to the route the river takes, and it doesn’t pass close to populated places near people (who can drop goodies) until it reaches Glasgow.

However, in this case, although the stuff was on the riverbank, it wasn’t the river that dumped it there.

Looks like some Polish traveller had their luggage stolen, and it was taken down to river, where it could be raided on a steep bank out of sight of the road.

Nothing of value was left, only a selection of Polish literature, notes, and cheap stuff like odd pens.

Polish OnT he Clyde

Polish On The Clyde

There was ONE interesting detail though – the packaging for a soft (toy) hand gun.

While not illegal, increasingly restrictive firearms’ legislation in Scotland, and the chances of a “Shoot first and ask questions later” response by armed police, who can’t be sure if a good replica is a genuine firearm or not, or the state of mind of the person issuing threats with it, are sufficiently high to render it a ‘Bad Idea’.

Soft Pistol Packaging

Soft Pistol Packaging

The damp had got to the printing, and while I could see the details identifying the usual ammo and its weight (plus the obvious muzzle velocity claim), it wasn’t clear if this was CO2 or spring powered.

Oh… Found it!

Armed police arrest man after ‘gun’ report

(Just kidding).

May 20, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The van in the square


It’s hard to describe how bright the lights around this van parked in George Square were.

It’s not the first van I’ve spotted with bright LEDs tacked on, there was another nearby, but it had a reason, being a lorry-sized recovery vehicle (and at work, trying to get a dead bus off the road).

Van Lit Front

Van Lit Front

In the US, this would have ‘FREE CANDY’ or painted on the side, and be parked in a dark corner. (Kidding!)

Free Candy

Free Candy


Van Lit Rear

Van Lit Rear

In ‘my day’ it didn’t take much by way of alteration to find the police paying attention, yet there seem to be quite a few highly visible vehicles pootling around Glasgow, with lighting which clearly does not comply with any vehicle or mounting regulations, will not carry any conformity marking, and are dazzling. (I’m not making that complaint about this one, just noting it).

There was a time when daring to have any blue lights on your car would earn you a ‘pull’ and maybe even court, accused of attempting to impersonate a police vehicle. I recall an early case where one lad ended up with this problem merely for having illuminated washer jets on his bonnet, since they lit up blue.

Now it seems this is ignored, which seems a bit odd, given that a look at the news from the past year will show that there are now actual cases where criminals have fitted blue lights with the intent of impersonating police to force drivers to stop, on quiet roads, where they are then assaulted and robbed.

Again, be clear this is NOT directed at this bit of car (or van) spotting, which just reminded of some other things.

I think it’s shame we’ve ‘advanced’ to the stage where customising is now largely sneered on in this country.

Dec 27, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Good luck proving 83 yo woman trained her 65 cats to be ‘cat burglars’

Oh wait…

This is in the US – better warm up ‘Old Sparky’ for her!

Columbus, Ohio:

An 83-year old woman was arrested this morning and accused of training dozens of cats to steal jewelry and other valuables from her neighbors.

The Columbus Police Department opened an investigation on Ruth Gregson and her 65 cats in October after several neighbors reported small objects being stolen from their homes.

Several victims reported being visited by Ms. Gregson’s cats before noticing the disappearance of several shiny objects, like valuable cutlery and pieces of jewelry.

Despite their skepticism, investigators began a surveillance operation and were amazed by what they discovered.

According to Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs,  dozens of cats were constantly coming and going, bringing home “anything that shined”.

“She was like Fagin in Oliver Twist, but she was using cats as thieves instead of children. In less than three hours of surveillance, the detectives saw the cats bring home more than a hundred objects.”
Upon searching Ms. Gregson’s house, investigators found $650,000 worth of jewelry and precious metal among piles of worthless shiny baubles.

Chief Jacobs says the elderly woman confessed to training her cats to steal, saying the felines had to “earn their meals”.

Old Cat Lady

Old Cat La

Nov 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Want to keep (or lose) your car or bike?

I was tolCrashed card Police Scotland had given out some info (I don’t have the source, I assume it’s online on their site somewhere – it just came up in discussion, from someone else) relating to car theft in Glasgow (five year average about 512/year). The areas around Milton, Lambhill, Possilpark, Ruchill, and Parkhouse seem worst (ave 55/year, more than Calton off Gallowgate). Govan seems to be next, then Baillieston, Barlarnark, Springboig, Carntyne, Riddrie, and Cranhill.

If you want to keep your car, Cambuslang West, Coatbridge West, Clydebank Waterfront, and East Kilbride West only had one reported theft each area over the last five years.

Numbers rise for bikes – avoid the west end and city centre as Glasgow’s five year average is over 1,300/year. The area around Anderston/City area – Broomielaw to Cowcaddens, including Yorkhill and Finnieston (ave 301/year). Hillhead was next (ave 143 /year), then Southside Central ward (Gorbals, Govanhill, Queen’s Park, and Toryglen), Govan, and Partick West.

Baillieston was bottom of the list, only 65 bike thefts there over the last five years.

Oct 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Be grateful you are not American and comfortably retired

Home CellA few years ago I came across a Scottish case which intrigued me. In summary, and under the right conditions, it revealed that anyone who notices a property has become derelict can make an application to legally claim it for themselves, provided no-one challenges their claim. There were a few such cases in the news at the time, and not long after I noted that someone stuck a letter on the wall of a site that had been cleared of a small cottage. I didn’t touch it, but could see it was addressed only to ‘The Owner’. Obviously there was no owner, so I assumed this was the start of the process I’d read about. A few months later the builders arrived, and a new house was built on the site.

Now imagine if something similar could be done with old/retired people – that someone could arrive on their doorstep, claim they were incapable, stuff them in a home, and collect their property and belongings as their own.

Sounds impossible?

Apparently not in America, with the help of some less than ethical courts, and someone who has the morals of… a thing with no morals.

It’s a long read, a VERY long read in fact, but I think it’s worth spreading around.

That it legitimate at all, even when carried out legally and to the letter of the law, seems to be an appalling injustice to those affected.

This quote should get you interested enough to read the rest:

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights

Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent—and reap a profit from it.

On the Friday before Labor Day, 2013, the Norths had just finished their toast when a nurse, who visited five times a week to help Rennie bathe and dress, came to their house, in Sun City Aliante, an “active adult” community in Las Vegas. They had moved there in 2005, when Rudy, a retired consultant for broadcasters, was sixty-eight and Rennie was sixty-six. They took pride in their view of the golf course, though neither of them played golf.

Rudy chatted with the nurse in the kitchen for twenty minutes, joking about marriage and laundry, until there was a knock at the door. A stocky woman with shiny black hair introduced herself as April Parks, the owner of the company A Private Professional Guardian. She was accompanied by three colleagues, who didn’t give their names. Parks told the Norths that she had an order from the Clark County Family Court to “remove” them from their home. She would be taking them to an assisted-living facility. “Go and gather your things,” she said.

Rennie began crying. “This is my home,” she said.

One of Parks’s colleagues said that if the Norths didn’t comply he would call the police. Rudy remembers thinking, You’re going to put my wife and me in jail for this? But he felt too confused to argue.

Parks drove a Pontiac G-6 convertible with a license plate that read “CRTGRDN,” for “court guardian.” In the past twelve years, she had been a guardian for some four hundred wards of the court. Owing to age or disability, they had been deemed incompetent, a legal term that describes those who are unable to make reasoned choices about their lives or their property. As their guardian, Parks had the authority to manage their assets, and to choose where they lived, whom they associated with, and what medical treatment they received. They lost nearly all their civil rights.

Without realizing it, the Norths had become temporary wards of the court. Parks had filed an emergency ex-parte petition, which provides an exception to the rule that both parties must be notified of any argument before a judge. She had alleged that the Norths posed a “substantial risk for mismanagement of medications, financial loss and physical harm.” She submitted a brief letter from a physician’s assistant, whom Rennie had seen once, stating that “the patient’s husband can no longer effectively take care of the patient at home as his dementia is progressing.” She also submitted a letter from one of Rudy’s doctors, who described him as “confused and agitated.”

Rudy and Rennie had not undergone any cognitive assessments. They had never received a diagnosis of dementia. In addition to Freud, Rudy was working his way through Nietzsche and Plato. Rennie read romance novels.

Parks told the Norths that if they didn’t come willingly an ambulance would take them to the facility, a place she described as a “respite.” Still crying, Rennie put cosmetics and some clothes into a suitcase. She packed so quickly that she forgot her cell phone and Rudy’s hearing aid. After thirty-five minutes, Parks’s assistant led the Norths to her car. When a neighbor asked what was happening, Rudy told him, “We’ll just be gone for a little bit.” He was too proud to draw attention to their predicament. “Just think of it as a mini-vacation,” he told Rennie.
After the Norths left, Parks walked through the house with Cindy Breck, the owner of Caring Transitions, a company that relocates seniors and sells their belongings at estate sales. Breck and Parks had a routine. “We open drawers,” Parks said at a deposition. “We look in closets. We pull out boxes, anything that would store—that would keep paperwork, would keep valuables.” She took a pocket watch, birth certificates, insurance policies, and several collectible coins.

Oct 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

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.


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

Jul 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


Undercover Cop Stood By As Bikers Beat Range Rover Driver

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


Nov 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

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

%d bloggers like this: