Nine-months jail for country house thief

A thief, who stole over £30,000 worth of items after breaking into an isolated country home at Maxton, has been jailed for nine months

Ross Cowper was described as “a desperate man” when he committed the offence, which left the householders “vulnerable and alarmed.”

Dependant on heroin and Valium at the time, his life was said to have spiralled out of control.

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Thirty-eight-year-old Cowper, c/o Durward Court, Motherwell, appeared on indictment at Selkirk Sheriff Court on Monday, and admitted breaking into a house at Maxton Cross on November 29, 2014, and stealing property including a television, money, car keys, and valuable fishing equipment. He also admitted stealing a vehicle there.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser told how the couple had locked up around midnight, and hung a set of car keys for 
a Landrover parked in the driveway on a hook in the kitchen.

At 4.30 am, the woman was woken by the sound of a vehicle being driven on gravel outside and, thinking it may be a neighbour, went back to sleep.

At 8am she went downstairs to find the front door ajar and the kitchen light on.

A 27-inch television was missing from the living room, and she rushed upstairs to tell her husband.

They then discovered that their 63-plate Landrover was no longer in the driveway.

The couple realised an ipad, iphone, a handbag, and a wallet containing money had also gone, as well as valuable fishing equipment.

“Police enquiries led to the accused who was seen carrying items from a house in Airdrie to the car, and a search uncovered the stolen iphone, and fishing equipment in the boot of the car.

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“He allowed police into the house and a substantial amount of the stolen items were found, including the television,” explained Mr Fraser.

“The total value was in excess of £30,000,” he added.

“The couple live in an isolated spot and have found themselves very vulnerable and alarmed by what happened,” he concluded.

Cowper’s solicitor said his client accepted his life had “readily spiralled out of control at the time.

“He was taking heroin and Valium, and was effectively a desperate man,” he explained.

“He has now managed to become drug free,” he added.

Sheriff Celia Sanderson told Cowper: “This was a significant house breaking.”