Moray man relates tale of housebreaking heartbreak

Housebreaking - a very personal and despicable crime
Housebreaking – a very personal and despicable crime

A MORAY MAN has issued a plea in the hope that treasured personal family items stolen during a housebreaking at his Garmouth home might be recovered.

David Usher, who is disabled, is cared for by his mother in the idyllic Moray village. Their lives were turned upside down when thieves broke into their home in December, stealing items including valuable jewellery and electrical goods valued at around £25,000.

David told insideMoray that thieves raided their home just a day before his grandfather’s birthday on December 2 – and just a few months after his mother had suffered from a stroke.

He said: “The financial value of the items is less important to us than the personal connection some of the stolen items have. They included my grandfather’s WWII medals in their original box along with his education medal.

“The thieves also took a valuable art-deco diamond solitaire ring than had been found by my great grandmother during the WWII blackout in Liverpool, which he handed in but was returned by the police when it was never claimed.

“Even personal items such as my Mum’s swimming certificates were taken – the sort of things that families like to hand down through the generations, including birth, death and marriage certificates, all originals dating right back to 1843 along with my grandfather’s educational certificates.”

Alas, David felt that the family were let down by the subsequent police investigation, saying: “The whole experience from start to finish, from the first uniformed officers on the scene to those who came out to check for fingerprints and gather more information, gave me the impression that they did not really care.

“I was told outright that there was no real chance of recovering our things – and yet there was never any publicity, no appeal for help from the press which in the early days might have made a difference.

“Really, most things taken are replaceable – but it was not the valuable items that concern us, it is the irreplaceable items, the personal belongings that surely have no value to the criminals so they may have dumped them somewhere.”

Police Response

A spokeswoman for the Police Scotland North East Division confirmed that their enquiries were ongoing into the Ushers’ case, pointing out that some items had been recovered and two men aged 29 and 24 had been arrested and made an initial appearance at Elgin Sheriff Court in January.

Explaining why no public appeal was made in relation to the case, the spokeswoman said: “A press release was considered, however, due to operational reasons was not deemed appropriate, given that officers were following a positive line of enquiry and coverage could jeopardise the enquiry.

“As a result of not publicising the crime it meant that when officers executed search warrants at the addresses of the offenders, some of the Ushers property was recovered. Again, the Ushers are already fully aware of which property was recovered.

“Although two people have appeared in court, officers believe that others may be involved and so enquiries are still ongoing into this case.”

The spokeswoman added that Mr Usher had been “kept fully informed throughout the investigation”, including advising him of the two men being arrested in January.

Police advise homeowners should take every precaution to avoid becoming the victim of crime and are appealing for anyone who might have information about this particular incident, or the whereabouts of goods that may belong to the Ushers, to contact them on 101.

Mr Usher, meanwhile, made his own appeal, saying: “The items recovered by police are not really the ones that are so very important to us, so if anyone has information or has found such personal items then please, hand them in to the police.

“Only people who have suffered at the hands of criminals in this way can fully understand what we have been going through, but any help would be greatly appreciated.”