Knife-wielding robbers tie up grandmother in farmhouse raid

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ARMED robbers tied up a grandmother and locked her five-year-old grandson in a bedroom before making off with thousands of pounds in cash, police said last night.

The three men, who were wearing balaclavas and armed with knives and other weapons, walked into a farmhouse near Hamilton while 52-year-old Margaret Baird was babysitting her grandson, Andrew.

Baird was thrown to the floor, injuring her shoulders, and tied up during the incident at about 7.30pm on Friday. The gang stole a four-figure sum of cash from a safe and threatened to murder the former teacher if she called the police.

Baird told Scotland on Sunday: "Three masked men came in the house carrying a knife and a baseball bat. One of them ordered me on to the floor. I kept thinking it must be a big joke but it wasn’t. I can’t believe I hadn’t locked the door because I normally do."

The boy, whose mother was out with friends, was sleeping in his bedroom and called out when he heard the disturbance.

The men went to the door of his room and he saw the knife before they closed the door.

Baird said: "He didn’t go to bed until all the doors were locked and he had seen they were all locked. He said there were ‘bad men’ in the house.

"I’m a nervous wreck now and I’ve got sore shoulders from where they manhandled me.

"I’ve lived here 32 years and I’ve never been scared to go out. I don’t know how I’ll be now. I don’t want to let my husband out of my sight. They [the robbers] told me if I got up and phoned the police, they would come back and murder me."

She said she managed to persuade the men to tie her hands in front rather than behind her back and was able to raise the alarm by mobile phone. The house phone lines had been cut.

The gang made off on Muttonhole Road in Baird’s Diahatsu Fourtrack car, which was later found abandoned.

Detective Constable Jim Waddell, of Hamilton CID, said: "This was a particularly nasty attack which left a 52-year-old woman and a five-year-old child deeply traumatised."

Police yesterday released descriptions of the men involved and appealed for the public to help track them down. The first man had a broad build and dark eyes. He was wearing a black ski mask and black jersey. The other two suspects were described as wearing dark ski masks and dark clothing.

Waddell added: "I would like to hear from members of the public who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously, or if any other vehicle was seen in Muttonhole Road at that time."