Shopper home just in time to foil thieves

Court heard Gary Feeney has long criminal record
Court heard Gary Feeney has long criminal record

A woman returned from a shopping trip to find her home had been ransacked and the intruders were still inside.

The pair were caught thanks to an alert passer-by in Millgate Avenue, Birkenshaw.

Serial offender Gary Feeney (37), a prisoner, was jailed for 27 months at Hamilton Sheriff Court when he admitted breaking into the house and stealing jewellery, cash, a laptop and other items on May 19.

His accomplice, who has psychiatric issues, did not appear with him.

Feeney also admitted unlawful possession of a knife, but a charge alleging he stole jewellery, cash and an iPad from a house in Wilkie Drive, Holytown, on May 17 was dropped.

Michael McIntosh, prosecuting, said the householder returned from shopping around 2pm to be told by a passer-by that he had seen two men acting suspiciously. They had been taking turns going to the front door before disappearing to the back of the house.

The woman discovered the kitchen window had been smashed and the living room ransacked. The police were called and footsteps could be heard upstairs.

Officers arrested Feeney and his accomplice in a bedroom. He had money and other stolen items on him. Other property was found in bags, ready to be taken away.

Defence agent Diarmid Bruce said Feeney has long-standing mental health and drugs problems.

Jailing Feeney, Sheriff Ray Small told him: “Your record does you no favours. You have seven or eight previous convictions for housebreaking.”