Highlands & Islands

Two men deny thefts from Highland post offices

Wick Sheriff Court. Pic: Crown copyright
Image caption Wick Sheriff Court heard evidence from the postmistress at Kyle of Lochalsh

Two men have gone on trial accused of break-ins and thefts from post offices and businesses across the Highlands.

John Hind, 54, of Colne, in Lancashire, and Matthew Peters, 40, from Bournemouth, in Dorset, deny stealing £34,497 in cash and £10,508 in stock.

They have pleaded not guilty to 18 charges involving raids and attempt raids in Caithness, Sutherland, Ross-shire, Lochaber and Moray.

The trial at Wick Sheriff Court in Caithness started on Tuesday.

Mr Hind and Mr Peters have pleaded not guilty to break-ins to post offices at Kyle of Lochalsh, Spittal, Canisbay, Talmine, Embo, Duncanston, Achiltibuie and Glenuig.

They also deny stealing £5,587 from Archieston post office, breaking into Lochinver post office with intent to steal and an attempted break-in to the post office at Dunbeath.

The men have pleaded not guilty to break-ins to business premises in Lairg, Thurso, Wick and Achiltibuie.

'Casing the joint'

They have also denied stealing a car and using it to assault a police officer to the danger of his life while he was signalling to them to stop on the A830 Fort William to Mallaig road, near Drumsallie.

The allegations cover a period from 27 July to 12 October 2007.

On the second day of evidence, shop worker Christine Stewart told the court that the two men barged their way to the front of a queue at Balmacara Stores, in Wester Ross, before one of them bought a newspaper.

She said the men then sat in a car outside for 15 minutes looking at the shop as if they were "casing the joint".

Valerie Wilson, postmistress at Kyle of Lochalsh, told the court of her shock after being roused in the middle of the night to learn of the break-in, which caused substantial damage.

She said £1,700 was stolen from a locked cabinet.

The trial continues.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites