BY LISA FALCONER
The village of Dornie was targeted by thieves last weekend, with a car stolen and several homes entered – while residents were inside.
It is believed that five properties were entered on Saturday evening by a man who then fled the village after stealing a car which was later found by police badly damaged in the Spean Bridge area.
At around 11pm on Saturday Jim Bryson was watching TV in his kitchen when he heard a noise and, thinking it was B&B guests returning, went to say goodnight.
He said: “I went in to the sitting room, which was in darkness, and found a man there. I asked what he was doing and he said he was looking for accommodation for him and his wife. I said ‘why didn’t you ring the bell?’ and told him to leave and watched him going. I then went out to the patio and when he saw me watching him he ran up the hill into the woods.
“A police car was just coming out of the village so I rang them but I didn’t realise at that point anything had been stolen.”
It was only later that Mr Bryson went into his bedroom to discover it had been ransacked and “irreplaceable” items of jewellery belonging to his wife, Dot, and himself had been stolen.
After calling the police Mr Bryson phoned his neighbour, Johnston Gill, to alert him about the prowler who was said to have a very strong Glaswegian accent.
Mr Gill said: “I locked the car after Jim warned me and was sitting watching TV when they must have come into the kitchen and stole two of (my wife) Angela’s handbags, which had a spare set of car keys in them. You can see the marks in the gravel where he pushed it out – he didn’t start it here. We knew nothing until the police called us at around 6am to say our car had been seen in the Spean Bridge area. I looked out the window and sure enough it was gone.”
Mr Gill added: “We never used to lock our doors — no one did — but we will be now.”
It is understood that another two people caught a man in their homes, and when confronted he claimed to be looking for his B&B accommodation. Petty cash was also stolen from the Dornie Hotel.
A police spokesman said: “As part of ongoing enquiries, police in Fort William are appealing for witnesses following a report of sneak-in thefts in the Dornie area. The incidents were reported to have occurred between 10pm and 11pm on Saturday 14th June 2014.
“Police are also seeking to remind the public about the basic measures such as locking your home and outbuildings, securing vehicles, not leaving unattended property lying around and recording serial numbers of tools and equipment. These small steps will help to stop members of the public becoming victims to this type of crime.”
Anyone with information relating to the incidents is asked to call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.