Home in Cumbernauld fell prey to £65k robbery

An organised criminal gang stole jewellery and clothing worth £65,000 from a house in Cumbernauld.

It was one in a series of high-value raids on homes across the west of Scotland that prompted a major police investigation.

One of the crooks, Michael Connors, was extradited from Australia three years later to face justice. He and James Connors appeared from custody at Hamilton Sheriff Court this week.

Michael Connors, 22 of Dublin, admitted breaking into a house in Birkdale Wood, Cumbernauld, and one in Hamilton. James Connors, 23, also of Dublin, admitted breaking into a property in East Kilbride. The men admitted that they had acted with others and that the break-ins were aggravated by a connection to serious organised crime. The crimes were committed in January 2018, part of a spate of housebreakings that began the previous year.

Referring to the Cumbernauld raid, prosecutor Chloe O'Hara said the householder returned home about 10.30pm to find patio doors had been smashed and rooms ransacked. Stolen items included jewellery and handbags, and the estimated total value was £65,000. Only about £20,000 worth was recovered. A similar break-in occurred in Hamilton a week later. This time the value of goods stolen was around £27,000 and nothing was recovered.

The two accused were traced to a hotel and “numerous” handbags were found in a room there. Police also seized a handwritten list containing addresses of homes police believed to be potential targets. The two accused claimed they were offered a free holiday in Scotland and it was only later they were told they would have to play a part in the break-ins to pay their way.

Michael Connors’s lawyer said that after being bailed he went to Australia to work and missed a court hearing. He was arrested in Australia in November 2020 and extradited to Scotland in June last year. James Connors’s lawyer said he has been held in prison since May last year. Neither man has previous convictions and each is married with a child.

Michael Connors was jailed for 20 months and James Connors for 10 months. The sentences were backdated, meaning their immediate release.