Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Pair jailed for 'terrifying' break-in at Straiton home

Two masked men who smashed their way into a 76-year-old woman's home to look for drugs they believed were hidden there have been jailed.

Jay Potter, 22, from Glasgow, and 25-year-old Steven Wylie, from Bonnyrigg in Midlothian, broke into the home in August last year.

A sheriff described their actions as "appalling" and "terrifying".

The pair had previously admitted breaking into the house in Straiton, Midlothian.

Sitting in Edinburgh, Sheriff Michael O'Grady QC told Potter and Wylie: "In a premeditated attack, you descended on someone's home in the dead of night with faces masked, forced entry in a violent and terrifying fashion and proceeded to ransack the place.

"Whatever you may or may not have known, you must, at some stage, have become aware that the house was occupied by an elderly, and by now terrified, lone woman, and nonetheless you continued with the enterprise".

The court had heard that Ruth McVey had lived in the house, which is located at a caravan park, for 12 years.

Breadbin drugs

Fiscal Depute Aidan Higgins said the two men had been involved in a dispute with others in the Midlothian area over controlled drugs.

They had been told that the drugs at the centre of the disagreement had been hidden in a bread bin in Mrs McVey's home without her knowledge.

Mrs McVey was woken up at about 02:00 by thumping noises outside and her dog barking, the court was told.

She got up to check her house and saw a hooded figure walking past the gate. About 20 minutes later she heard further noises and saw two people near her home.

"A few seconds later, one of the accused used a glass bottle to break one of the living room windows, after which a plant pot was thrown through a glass door leading into the living room," Mr Higgins said.

"As the window and door smashed, Mrs McVey ran into the kitchen. The two accused entered her home, wearing hooded tops with the hoods pulled tight across their faces and were shouting".

Stolen phone

The men began searching the house and Mrs McVey escaped with her dog, shouting to her neighbours for help.

When she returned to her house later, the breadbin and a mobile phone had been taken.

Solicitors appearing for the men said their clients were "remorseful" for their actions and had pled guilty at an early stage to avoid the need for a trial. They said that the pair were already serving sentences.

Potter was sentenced to two years and three months. Wylie was jailed for three years and two months.

The sentences will run consecutively with their present sentences.

Mrs McVey told the police: "I've always felt safe around here and I don't think I'll ever feel safe again.

"I'm not sure if I can sleep in my house again".

The fiscal added that she had lived with her daughter for a time, but suffered from panic attacks and was prescribed sleeping tablets. She had now returned to her home, but only after iron bars had been fitted over her windows.

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