THE “despicable” men behind a spate of housebreakings in Girvan have been put behind bars after being found guilty of breaking into four Girvan homes.
Paul Barclay, 37, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to three counts of housebreaking and possession of class C drugs with intent to supply when he appeared before Ayr Sheriff Court on Wednesday December 9.
Ross Nawarauckas, 31, of 16 Kerr Court, Girvan – where Barclay is believed to have been staying – pleaded guilty to breaking into and robbing a fourth Girvan home and to two counts of reset, or possession of stolen goods.
Between them the two men had notched up loot believed to be worth around £5000 in stolen property.
Girvan had been terrorised by the series of break-ins throughout the run-up to Christmas, with some elderly residents afraid to leave their homes.
The crime spree is believed to have begun on the night of Girvan’s fireworks display and lantern parade, and at the time up to 10 homeowners were said to have been affected – including families and single parents.
A public meeting was called on December 19 to try to stamp out the burglaries and more than 200 people turned out. And earlier this month a packed courtroom at Ayr Sheriff Court saw Barclay and his pal sent down.
Depute fiscal Maureen Mullan explained how on December 11 Barclay had “ransacked” a house in Motehill Road, breaking in and stealing a large quantity of jewellery and two wristwatches.
Only two days later he entered a house in Elder Avenue and made off with jewellery, a Pulsar watch, and more than £1000 in cash.
The court heard how a neighbour had caught Mr Barclay at the property to the south of the town centre, the homeowner having gone out for the evening, and observed a window had been smashed.
When questioned by the concerned resident, Barclay replied: “It’s nothing to worry about. Someone has put the window in.”
On December 16 at around 5pm, a house in Willow Drive was Barclay’s target. Here he stole a PlayStation games console, jewellery, a hold-all, and around £25 in cash.
He was seen jumping a fence in Elder Avenue later that evening while in possession of a hold-all, and residents suspicious of his activities contacted the police.
A fourth Girvan home was invaded by Ross Nawarauckas on December 15, when homeowners in Roxburgh Road suffered the loss of a TV/DVD combi, a quantity of antique and classic coins, a Blu-Ray DVD player, a laptop, a digital video camera, an iPod nano, jewellery, a PlayStation Portable (PSP) and charger, and around £80 in cash.
Both Barclay and Nawarauckas were apprehended by police in Kerr Court, Girvan, where, the court heard, police found product packaging matching some of the stolen items as well as some of the goods themselves.
Officers also recovered a quantity of tablets from the garden and kitchen, which later proved to be diazepam. Barclay pleaded guilty to possession of 310 tablets of the class C drug.
The men’s defence solicitor John Gallagher confirmed Mr Barclay had been overcoming various drug addictions at the time of the break-ins, having fallen into heroin use and later diazepam.
He said he regretted the effects of his actions on his family, who must continue to reside in Girvan.
Sheriff Norman McFadyen handed Barclay nine months in prison, while Nawarauckas received a 204-day jail sentence.
Derek McMurdo, Acting Police Inspector for Carrick, said: “Housebreaking is a despicable crime that impacts on the victim and victim’s family, causing misery, upset and, despair.
“I am delighted that the criminal justice system has disposed of this case by means of a custodial sentence for those individuals responsible.
“I would urge anyone who may have information relating to any criminal act to share this with local officers, assisting us in keeping people safe.”