Wednesday, 16 September 2015

63-year-old attacked in Saltcoats home

Police Scotland is appealing for information after a man was seriously assaulted within his home at around 3:20am today (September 16).

The 63-year-old was woken by the sound of someone in his Dalry Road home.  When he went to investigate he discovered an intruder.  The man used a weapon to attack the householder before fleeing the property.

The victim was seriously injured and was taken by ambulance to Crosshouse Hospital for treatment, where he is described as being in a stable condition.

The intruder is described as between 5ft-10in and 6ft, slim and was wearing a dark hooded-top and dark trousers.

Detective Inspector William McDicken said, “This was a very violent attack on a man within his own home, which has left him with serious injuries.

“Even though it happened in the early hours of the morning, there may still have been people about or traffic passing along Dalry Road.

“I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and noticed anything suspicious, or noticed a man matching the description, or any vehicle to contact police on 101.  Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where anonymity will be maintained.”

Murder accused appears in court

The 32-year-old man arrested yesterday (September 15) in relation to the murder of Saltcoats-man Malky Ballantyne has been named as James Lee Nolan.

Mr Ballantyne’s body was found by a family member at his Glebe Place home on August 21.  The 72-year-old has last been seen the previous day at a pub in Stevenston.

Nolan appeared today (September 16) at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, charged with murder and two counts of theft.  He made no plea or declaration and was remanded in custody to appear again next week.

Arrest in Saltcoats murder case

Published: September 15 2015.

Police Scotland has confirmed a 32-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the death of Saltcoats-man Malky Ballantyne.

The body of 72-year-old Mr Ballantyne (pictured) was discovered by a family member at his home in Glebe Place on August 21.

Today (September 15), detectives indicated a man is being held in custody.  A report will go to the procurator fiscal and the detained man is expected to appear in court within the next few days.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Vote for Aria

Locals are being encouraged to get behind Saltcoats schoolgirl Aria Pascual who has been nominated for the Ayrshire Junior Sports Personality 2015.

The nomination comes in recognition of Aria’s outstanding performances in international karate competitions. In June the teenager competed at the Junior European Championships, held in Bochum, Germany, where she secured Silver in the Individual Kata - which involves performing a detailed pattern of movements, each of which is a complete fighting system – and Bronze for the Individual Kumite, which translates from Japanese as “grappling hands” and involves competing against an adversary.

This international success built on Aria taking three of the top prizes at this year’s Scottish Championships, held last March, in which she was crowned champion in three categories – Kata, Kumite and Team Kata. To round off a very successful day, Aria was also awarded Best Junior Competitor 2015. In addition, Aria finished third for Female Kumite (age 13) at the World Championships in Tokyo

A member of the Shibumi Karate Club, Aria trains with Sensei John Deans at the Saltcoats Dojo in St Matthews Academy.

To vote for Aria in the Ayrshire Junior Sports Personality competition, text 63333 and write ‘NOMINATE 022’. Texts cost 50p.

Patricia calls for action to help refugees

North Ayrshire & Arran MP Patricia Gibson has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons, expressing “extreme concern” over the refugee crisis that has seen more than 350,000 people flee war-torn countries, such as Syria, to seek safety in Europe.

The SNP MP lodged her motion after UK Tory Prime Minister David Cameron told the Commons his government was only prepared to accept an average of 4,000 refugees per year until 2020.  In contrast, Germany has indicated it is prepared to offer sanctuary to 800,000 desperate refugees.

In her EDM, Mrs Gibson says Britain should be adopting a “similarly proactive role”, and calls on the Tory UK Government to “show decisive leadership to ensure the UK plays a full and active role in alleviating this escalating and tragic situation”.

The local MP later explained why she tabled the parliamentary motion, saying, “Far from being economic migrants looking to simply improve their circumstances in the UK, figures compiled by the United Nations show that 62-percent of those who had reached Europe by boat this year were from Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan – countries ravaged by war and religious extremism.

“The scale of the suffering faced by those fleeing violence and barbarism is almost beyond comprehension.  Driven by blind-panic and motivated by a desire to protect their families, they fall into the hands of villainous people traffickers who herd them onto crowded and dangerously unseaworthy vessels.  The outcome is often depressingly predictable and leads to the sort of appalling images we saw in the media last week.”

Mrs Gibson noted, “Sickeningly, many continue to use dehumanising language to describe those seeking sanctuary.  A well-known talking-head - who I refuse to mention - recently referred to refugees as ‘cockroaches’ – a term used by the Nazis to describe Jews in the 1930s – whilst our own Prime Minister chose to refer to the volume of refugees as a ‘swarm’.  This sort of language serves only to remove the human element from the unfolding tragic story.”

While acknowledging the challenges faced by communities in North Ayrshire, the local MP said, “these pale in comparison relative to the scale of loss and suffering being experienced across North Africa and the Mediterranean.”

Calling on the UK Government to play a “serious role” in alleviating the refugee crisis, Patricia Gibson said, “I am confident that if we – along with our European neighbours – play our part, we can provide safe passage to those who simply want to have a life not lived in fear.”

Monday, 7 September 2015

Saltcoats murder update: police reveal CCTV images

Police Scotland has re-issued an appeal for public help in finding the murderer of 72-year-old Saltcoats-man Malky Ballantyne.

Mr Ballantyne was found dead at around 1:00pm on August 21 by a member of his family in his Glebe Place home.  A week later the charity Crimestoppers offered a £10,000 reward for information that secures an arrest and conviction.

Today (September 7), Police Scotland, in association with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, has issued two stills from CCTV footage that show a man officers would like to speak with in relation to Mr Ballantyne’s death.

Detective-Chief-Inspector Gary Cunningham of the Major Investigation Team said, “We are looking to trace a man who was seen on CCTV cycling close to the area where the attack took place.

“He appears to be cycling on a BMX bike near to Glebe Place and then appears to be heading back towards the town centre at around 2:20am to 2:40am on Friday, 21st August."

The man is described as white, 18-30 years-of-age, medium build and between 5ft-6in and 5ft-9in tall.  He was wearing a dark hooded-top and dark trousers.  It is possible that some parts of the bike or wheel trim are fluorescent yellow.

DCI Cunningham explained, “It is important we speak to this man as he may have information which could help with our ongoing inquiry into the death of Malcolm Ballantyne.  If you think this matches your description, please get in touch.  You may have seen or heard something which could be critical to our investigation.”

Police Scotland can be contacted by calling 101.  Alternatively, information can be passed, in confidence, to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.  The charity continues to offer a £10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and the conviction of the person responsible for Mr Ballantyne’s murder.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Ardrossan bookies robbed at knifepoint

Police Scotland are asking for help from the public to find a man who robbed an Ardrossan betting shop on Friday night (September 4).

The incident happened around 8:45pm in the Scotbet bookies in Park Road. 

Police say a man entered the premises and threatened a 54-year-old worker with a knife.  The woman was uninjured but “badly shaken”.

The robber made-off with a four-figure sum. 

Officers from Saltcoats Police Office say the man had his face covered while in the shop but is described as being around 5ft-6in and was wearing dark clothing at the time.

Detective-Sergeant Stuart Dougan said, “I would appeal to anyone who was in the area of Park Road in Ardrossan around the time of the incident on Friday night and who saw a man acting suspiciously to come forward.

“I would also ask anyone with information that may assist our investigation to contact Police Scotland on 101.  Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111, where anonymity can be maintained.”

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Jail for man who stole medical equipment

A 39-year-old Kilwinning man has been jailed for four years after pleading guilty to stealing £1.3m of medical equipment.

Daniel Dreghorn (pictured) had been employed at the decontamination unit within Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine, which gave him access to highly-technical and expensive medical devices used in theatres and clinics.  Over a two-year period, Dreghorn stole 136 items, including paediatric telescopes, cystoscopes and other devices needed by patients requiring urgent medical care.

The Kilwinning man stored the equipment at his home before selling them to wholesalers in the UK, USA and Hong Kong.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that each item of medical equipment has a unique identification number, which allows them to be tracked.  During a stock-take at the Ayrshire hospital it became clear that trays carrying items had been scanned back-in after use but not the equipment.  Records showed Dreghorn was the duty Supervisor at the times equipment went missing.

During sentencing today (September 2) Judge Lord Turnbull told Dreghorn, “You pleaded guilty to the theft of a vast quantity of equipment purchased by the taxpayer for the common good.

“You denied to vulnerable patients this vital equipment.  You showed a wholly callous level of indifference,” which affected those “requiring urgent medical care”.

For NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Derek Lindsay, Director of Finance, said controls had been tightened on the health board's computerised tracking system to prevent repeat offences.