Six years for raider who impersonated customs officer

image captionGirvan was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh

A man who admitted posing as a customs officer to steal jewellery and £20,000 in cash from a Glasgow family has been jailed for six years.

Alexander Girvan, 43, was part of a gang who used a fake search warrant to gain access and then ransack a house in Queen Mary Avenue on 14 July last year.

Girvan was caught after his own home became the target for a drugs search by police, who found the stolen jewellery.

The former businessman was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh.

At an earlier hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Girvan admitted impersonating an HM Customs and Excise official and acting with others to steal money and jewellery.

The criminals turned up at the home of Raja Ali, 74, and his wife Shamim Akhtar, 68, dressed in suits, with Girvan carrying a clipboard and using a walkie talkie.

The couple were not at home at the time but a son, Zulfqar Ali, 31, and son-in-law Sohail Aurangzen, 25, allowed the five men into the house.

During the search of the house a daughter arrived with her husband and child, but they were placed in a separate room and told not to use mobile phones.

The gang ransacked the premises, with one family member describing it as "a site of devastation".

'Undermined system'

Defence counsel Tony Graham said first offender Girvan had been a successful entrepreneur who went into a rapid descent after becoming addicted to cocaine.

Judge Lady Clark of Calton told Girvan at the High Court in Edinburgh: "You have caused misery and mayhem in other people's lives, both to your family and to the victims."

She said a serious penalty was necessary not only because of the effect on the victims, but also because the offence involved impersonating officials - which undermined "the system in which we operate".

Girvan had also earlier admitted being concerned in the supply of the of the Class A drug.

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