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A NEWSAGENT jailed for 11 months for selling obscene films is contesting the amount he should pay under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

It was estimated last August when he was sentenced that Ron Smart, 43, of Abercromby Road, Castle Douglas, had made £20,000 out of his mail order operation, a figure disputed by Smart’s solicitor.

He was sent to prison after admitting selling obscene videos and DVDs and to distributing obscene material with a view to its eventual sale or distribution from Barry Smart newsagents on the town’s King Street between February 11, 2005 and November 12, 2007.

Action under the Act was continued on Thursday for two weeks at Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court where he was jailed last August.

He was said to have pocketed thousands of pounds from the mail order business and to have shown a complete disregard for the law.

Investigations under the Proceeds of Crime Act have been going on for more than a year and Sheriff Shirley Foran was told that meetings were being held to try and resolve the position.

Smart was sentenced to four months in prison in 2004 on child porn charges and put on the sex offenders’ register for seven years.

He was released from jail after three weeks when he appealed.

While free, he was separately fined £10,000 for having 213 obscene videos and a bank of machines for copying tapes which he distributed for a Spanish firm.

He was also ordered to pay £23,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.


A KNIGHT and Marquis appeared in the dock together at Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court accused of driving dangerously at more than 100mph

The case against Sir Richard Dashwood and the Marquis of Headfort, Thomas Taylour has been continued for two weeks to another interim diet.

Both are accused of driving dangerously on the A75 Gretna – Stranraer Euro-route last November 13 at speeds of up to 112 mph, almost twice the national speed limit for the road of 60mph.

The pair, who are due to stand trial on June 7, face an alternative charge of speeding at 112mph

Sheriff Shirley Foran excused the attendance of Sir Richard, 61, of Sandford St Martin, Oxfordshire.

But Taylour, 53, of Cadogan Street, London, will have to appear after his representative asked for time to consult another solicitor.




POLICE have issued a warning to homeowners to keep a close check on their property after thieves got away with thousands of pounds worth of goods.

The haul from a luxury home at Merse Way in the yachting village of Kippford,  near Dalbeattie, included television sets, jewellery, DVD player, wine and jewellery.

Rural properties across the South West have been hit in recent weeks and raiders have also been targeting central heating oil tanks and fuel from vehicles.

A Dumfries and Galloway Police spokesman said the raiders  had also taken lawnmowers and other equipment sometime between April 22 and May 8.

He added: “The value of the theft is expected to run to thousands of pounds. A van was seen in the area on Saturday and we are trying to trace the occupants.

“Anyone who is away from home for any length of time is asked to take precautions. It is the latest raid on homes.”

And also in the village police yesterday discovered the theft of hundreds of litres of central heating oil from another house


DUMFRIES Police are investigating the death of a 25-year-old Dumfries man on Thursday.

Ambulance personnel attended a property on Brooke Street at around at about 11.15 pm to treat the man who was suffering breathing problems.

He was transferred to Dumfries Infirmary but later died.

Police have named the man as: RICKKI BLYTH OLIVER, from Dumfries.

A spokesman said: “At this time the death is being treated as unexplained.

“A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal and a post mortem will be arranged.

“We are keen to speak to anyone who spoke to Rickki in the days leading up to his death.”

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THE owners of a bus and lorry which were torched by vandals have put up a five-figure reward.

Damage assessors now say the total is more than £150,000 after the vehicles were set on fire in March.

Dumfries and Galloway Police say they are following up leads but need more information and are appealing to the public.

The fire was discovered at the bus depot at Clarebrand Village about two miles from Castle Douglas on March 23.

A police spokesman said: “The reward will be issued to anyone who provides the information that leads to the identification and prosecution of the person or people responsible for the fire which engulfed two parked vehicles at the ABC Bus Depot in the village.

“A Daf recovery lorry and a 56 seat single deck coach were both discovered well ablaze on the early hours of that Friday morning. Fire crews attended and extinguished the fire and following a joint police and fire investigation, it was established the blaze was started suspiciously.”

He added: “The cost of the damage has run past £150,000 and both the owners and the police are keen to find the people or person responsible.”

Detective Constable Ross Milligan from Castle Douglas CID said: “We have conducted a number of enquiries, including staff statements and a door to door of the surrounding area.

“A number of lines of enquiry have opened up however we need more substantial evidence to pursue a positive line.

“While no was injured it caused a considerable amount of damage and we are keen for anyone with any information to contact us.”


DUMFRIES and Galloway now has its first husband and wife team - under the Conservative banner.

Sitting member, Councillor Ian Carruthers and his wife Karen were both elected in separate wards.

Karen who works in mental health in the region won her seat in the Annandale East and Eskdale ward. She was delighted and said: "It was reallynerve wracking but it's a great feeling to win through."

Husband Ian retained his seat in the neighbouring ward of Annandale South and said: "I never had any doubt that Karen would get it. She has a great interest in the way things are going and she will bring a lot of knowledge to the council.

"We are just delighted that we've got back in for the Conservatives. How the new setup will be, we will just have to wait and see the full outcome of the elections."

Jack Groom, the Nithsdale Provost was one of the first to be returned along with Labour's Colin Smyth and Conservative council leader Ivor Hyslop

In the Stewartry Tom McAughtrie, one of the sitting Labour councillors in Abbey was returned to the council despite being in hospital at Dumfries recovering from a heart attack.

He was taken to Glasgow for specialist treatment but is now back at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary where he was told of his success along with Labour sitting member David Stitt.

Also successful at Abbey Ward were sitting members Ian Blake, chairman of the Police and fire committee and Rob Davidson, the SNP leader on the council.

In the Dee Ward Colin Wyper, standing as an independent topped the poll and joins the council along with sitting members Jane Maitland and Patsy Gilroy.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems have run the council during the last term with help from Indenpendents but negotiations will now start to form an administration.

Labour are now the biggest party in the council with 15 seats with the Conservatives'on 141, with 10 for the SNP, five Independents, one Lib-Dem and two without any designation.


Ward 10 Nith

Number to be elected - 4

Jack Groom, (Scottish Conservative and Unionist) Elected)

John Martin, Scottish Labour Party Elected

Colin Smyth, Scottish Labour Party Elected

Alastair Witts, Scottish National Party (SNP) Elected

Ward 7 North West Dumfries

Number to be elected - 4
Valid Votes - 4008
Quota – 802

Graham Bell, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected

Andy Ferguson, Scottish National Party (SNP)Elected

David McKie, Scottish Labour Party Elected

Ronnie Nicholson, Scottish Labour Party Elected

Ward 8 Mid and Upper Nithsdale

Number to be elected - 4
Valid Votes - 4349
Quota – 870

Jim Dempster, Scottish Labour Party Elected

Gill Dykes, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected

John Syme, Scottish Labour Party Elected

Andrew Wood, Scottish National Party (SNP) Elected

Ward 9 Lochar

Number to be elected - 4
Valid Votes - 4180
Quota – 837

Jeff LEAVER, Scottish Labour Party Elected
Yen HONGMEI JIN, Scottish National Party (SNP) Elected
Ted THOMPSON, Scottish Labour Party Elected
Ivor HYSLOP, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected

Ward 12 Annandale North

Number to be elected - 4
Valid Votes - 4314
Quota – 863

Ted Brown, Scottish Labour Party Elected

Peter Diggle, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected

Gail Macgregor, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected

Stephen Thompson, Scottish National Party (SNP)Elected

Ward 4 Dee Ward

Number to be elected - 3
Valid Votes - 4034
Quota – 1009

Patsy Gilroy, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected
Jane Maitland, Independent Elected
Colin Wyper, Independent Elected

Ward 5 Castle Douglas and Glenkens

Number to be elected - 3
Valid Votes - 3338
Quota – 835

Finlay Carson, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected

Brian Collins, Scottish National Party (SNP) Elected

George N Prentice, Independent Elected

Ward 6 Abbey

Number to be elected - 4
Valid Votes - 3935
Quota – 788

Ian Blake, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected
Rob Davidson, Scottish National Party (SNP)Elected
Tom McAughtrie, Scottish Labour Party Elected
Davie Stitt, Scottish Labour Party Elected

Ward 13 Annandale East and Eskdale

Number to be elected - 4
Valid Votes - 3951
Quota – 791

Karen Carruthers, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected
Archie Dryburgh, Scottish Labour Party Elected
Denis Male, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected
Craig Peacock, Independent Elected

Ward 11 Annandale South

Number to be elected - 4
Valid Votes - 4547
Quota – 910

Richard Brodie, Scottish Liberal Democrats Elected

Ian Carruthers, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected

Sean Marshall, Scottish Labour Party Elected

Ronnie Ogilvie, Scottish Labour Party Elected

Ward 3 Mid Galloway

Number to be elected - 3
Valid Votes - 3462
Quota – 866

Alistair Geddes, Scottish National Party (SNP) Elected

Jim McColm, Independent Elected

Graham Nicol, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected

Ward 2 Wigtown West

Number to be elected - 3
Valid Votes - 2949
Quota – 738

Grahame Forster,Elected

Jim McClung, Scottish National Party (SNP) Elected

Roberta Tuckfield, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Elected

Ward 1 Stranraer and North Rhins

Number to be elected - 3
Valid Votes - 3310
Quota – 828

Iain Dick, Scottish National Party (SNP) Elected
Marion McCutcheon, Scottish Labour Party Elected
Willie Scobie, Elected

bIan Carruthers and his wife Karen


THREE bogus workmen who conned a pensioner out of thousands of pounds are being hunted by police in South West Scotland.

Dumfries and Galloway Police described the scam as ‘utterly despicable’ and say they are determined to catch the culprits.

The men were posing as building contractors and went to a house occupied by the elderly woman in Rossway Road on the outskirts of Kirkcudbright.

They claimed she had to pay them a substantial amount of cash for roofing work that needed done and they physically, took her to a local bank twice to withdraw thousands of pounds.

Although the incident was on Tuesday, police were only yesterday learning about the incident when they were contacted by members of the family.

The elderly woman is not thought to be hurt but was badly shocked by the ordeal.

Police have not revealed the identity of the woman who was approached at her home in the private residential area of the artist’s town.

Sgt Iain Johnstone from Kirkcudbright said: “Two men claiming to be building contractors said she had to pay them a substantial amount of cash for roofing work that needed to be done.
“After a short while a third man soon attended and physically took her to a local bank to withdraw the cash.

“He then took her to a second bank to extract more money from another account held by her. This third male remained in the car throughout so he was not questioned by any bank staff.”

He added: “As our enquiries have only just commenced, the total amount stolen in the scam has still to be established, however it is believed to reach into the thousands.

 “This is an utterly despicable crime and we are eager to trace this team of criminals before anyone else is targeted.

“These types of criminals can be difficult to track as they are mobile and constantly move around the country targeting different areas before moving to another location

“For that reason we need the help of the local community, if you see any suspicious workmen in your area, do not hesitate to call us.”

The sergeant went on: “These criminals have no shame and target the elderly, vulnerable or those that live alone. It is vile type of crime that leaves one shaking their head at how they can live with their conscious."

No one likes to imagine their vulnerable or elderly loved ones being targeted in a way such as this.”
It is the latest scam in the area where elderly people have been targeted in the past.


POLICE fear a man who died when his car was crashed may have suffered a heart attack.

The 59-year-old man was named later as Charles McLean from Thornhill. He died when his car was involved a one vehicle collision just off Grant Court, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire, early on Thursday  morning.

The grey coloured Ford Foxus was driving his car near his home when it crashed.


Emergency services were called to the scene but the man was found to be dead when he was taken to the local hospital.

The accident happened about 7am in the market town 12 miles north of Dumfries.

A Dumfries and Galloway Police spokesman said they were investigating the cause of the accident and if the man had died from natural causes or in the accident.

The spokesman said: “Emergency services staff attended but the man was pronounced dead at the hospital.

“A police crash investigation has been carried out at the sceme."


A FREAK thunderstorm has caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to electrical systems in a Galloway village.

Crossmichael, three miles north of Castle Douglas, was struck by a huge ball of fire and fierce thunderclap.

But it is only now that the full extent of the damage is becoming known.

A huge surge ruined televisions, computers were damaged beyond repair, telephone and sky boxes exploded and some telephone boxes were blown across rooms.

Local public Jim McLelland of the Thistle Inn at Crossmichael lost his television and computer and said he’d never seen anything like it.

He said yesterday: “We didn’t realise just how extensive the damage was until now. 

“The surge from telephone lines has caused huge damage. It was unbelievable, although it only lasted a minute.”

He added: “There was huge clap of thunder along with the lightning . It was absolutely horrendous and must have been right above us.

“The sky just went black at the time and there were hailstones which covered the whole village. It was just a real freak.

“Now we are just hearing about the damage all over the village and there have been BT vans working here round the clock.”

Hazel Dean of Kirkland Terrace, Crossmichael said: “Even the surge protectors were destroyed. Our BT box was blown from the wall across the room.

“BT are doing everything they can but the damage is terrible to computers and televisions.

One BT engineer said: “People are coming up to us as we are working to tell us about damage. We’re getting more engineers in to try and cope with the problems.”

bBT engineers working in Crossmichael Lightning strikes Jim McLellan's television The remains of some of Hazel's electrical equipment


CRACK troops engaged on a big exercise in Galloway were brought in to fight a grass fire – that they started.

Fire bosses in Dumfries and Galloway revealed yesterday (TUES) that a flare being used in Exercise ‘Joint Warrior’ ignited the tinder dry grass around the MOD base at West Freugh, five miles from Stranraer.

Several hectares of grass, trees and shrubs were destroyed in the blaze around the base.

Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue service was stretched to the limit at the time as they dealt with a huge grass and moorland fire near Kirkcowan 20 miles away.

When they arrived at the MOD base firefighters were faced with a fast moving rough grass and gorse fire being fanned by strong winds. 

Firefighters were assisted by a RAF Tactical Air Transportable Fire Unit which included two major foam vehicles and 11 personnel along with 10 Army personnel from 3 Para Regiment that were at the base as part of the exercise ‘Joint Warrior’.

A senior officer from the Fire and Rescue Service said: “FireFighters and Military personnel worked together using fire beaters and hose jets for six hours to bring the fire under control. 

“An area of approximately 2 hectares was destroyed by fire but there were no injuries, no-one was evacuated from their home and the fire was prevented from entering a large area of woodland.”

He added: “This was a very challenging situation, compounded by the fact that the Fire and Rescue Service were dealing with another large wildfire in Wigtownshire at the same time.  Fire Service and Military personnel worked well together to bring this blaze under control’.  

“The cause of the fire was found to be accidental ignition by a flare being used as part of Exercise Joint Warrior.

The fire erupted after troops from 16 Air Assault brigade parachuted into the MOD base as part of the exercise. They are part of 1600 soldiers and 8000 Royal Navy personnel on board 30 ships involved in the huge exercise which will last two weeks.


A MAN found guilty of failing to pay Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs more than £600,000 has been found guilty of fraud by a jury.

After a six week trial at Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court the jury took just over an hour to return a guilty verdict on Steven Maxwell, 53, of Wallach Court, Dalbeattie, who was remanded in custody until April 26 for the preparation of reports.

Maxwell had denied operating a fraudulent scheme between April 1999 and May 2008 by pretending to HMRC that he had no taxable income and wasn’t liable for income tax or National Insurance.

As a result he evaded paying sums totalling £635,015 to HMRC.

During the trial the jury was told that Maxwell, an information technology consultant, used offshore companies to conceal his income which was said to be in many cases up to £800 a day.

He was engaged by Deutsche Bank AG and JP Morgan Chase and received payments for work carried out for them.

Maxwell was found guilty of  charge of purchasing Barncailzie Hall at Springholm, near Castle Douglas, in the name of Gateway 3000 UK, a company registered in the Isle of Man and wholly controlled by him, in a bid to put his assets beyond the reach of creditors.

bOne of the fires in Wigtownwshire which stretched firefighters.


HUNDREDS of people marched through the streets of Dalbeattie to pay tribute to local Titantic hero Lt William McMaster Murdoch, who was first officer on the stricken vessel.

Murdoch saved dozens of lives as he got passengers on to lifeboats as the ship was sinking on its maiden voyage.

School children from the local primary and High School where a prize in memory of the Titanic’s first officer is competed for each year, marched from the Parish Church where a service was held.

They walked through the town along with their parents and other townspeople, some in period costume, others carrying lanterns and replicas of the Titanic which they later launched in the pond in Colliston Park.

They were paying tribute to not only William Murdoch but the rest of the 1516 who went down with the ship on its maiden voyage.

To this day, Murdoch is regarded as hero in the town made famous by its granite.

And fittingly a monument to the town’s most famous seaman is set in granite in the front of the town hall in the main street.

Community council chairman Erica Johnson laid a wreath in memory of the victms

A centenary ball is also being held next week and Jay Young, a teacher at the town's High School said: "Mr Murdoch is highly respected and regarded and there is still a great deal of interest in him in Dalbeattie."

"The school is enormously grateful to the Murdoch family, who have supported the Murdoch Memorial Prize, a school junior dux prize, for many years."

William McMaster Murdoch,  who was aged 39 and first officer on the RMS Titanic was a native of Dalbeattie and attended the primary and secondary schools there.


Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service, with partners from the Forestry Commission, Scottish Woodlands and supported by a Royal Navy helicopter based at HMS Gannet, successfully brought the grass fire in the Airdrie Farm area of Kirkbean under control.

Over the duration of the incident there were 11 fire appliances with over 60 firefighters deployed with a similar number of people from other partner agencies involved. This along with a number of other simultaneous incidents placed significant resource challenges on the Service.

On Tuesday March, 26 saw the continued use of the helicopter to carry firefighting crews and equipment to the location of the fire to ensure effective firefighting operations.

This process undoubtedly assisted firefighting offensive operations allowing resources to be quickly deployed and thereby preventing the spread of the incident into nearby forestry. It also minimised the demands that were being placed on the crews due to the terrain and strenuous working conditions who had been working continuously over an extensive period of time.

By 1730 hours, the fire was deemed to have been brought under control and all operational firefighters were removed from the hillside.

A watching brief from that point until dawn was carried out by the Forestry Commission and landowners.

At 0900 hours Wednesday  a supervisory officer with the assistance of the Forestry Commission and landowners carried out an assessment of the fire ground on foot to check for any signs of re-ignition.

At 1145 hours the incident commander deemed the incident to be at an end stating: ‘‘All seats of fire have been extinguished with no signs of smouldering. 500 hectares of heather and scrub land have been destroyed by fire.’’

The cause of the fire was controlled burning. At this time it is critical that extra care is taken when starting a fire of any type in the open, near combustible materials. These dry windy conditions are perfect for fire spread and controlled burning in any manner is difficult to control and in some circumstances impossible to maintain.

The public should remain extra vigilant at this time if planning barbeques and camp fires should be avoided.

Fires, like this one have a major effect on Fire and Rescue Service (and partner agencies) resources to bring them under control. Public safety is also a concern, and in this instance many properties and vehicles have been coated with ash. Local road networks were also disrupted.

The ‘Muirburn Code’ provides both legal requirements and general guidance with regard to burning heather, grass or moorland in Scotland. Compliance is essential and is particularly pertinent during these dry weather conditions.


A HUGE forest fire was brought under control by firefighters and forestry workers before it could engulf a 70 hectare forest.

More than 70 men were involved in the fight to prevent the flames spreading the forest near Kirkbean and Southwick, about 10 miles south of Dumfries.

The blaze started on Monday had raged throughout the night.

The Forestry Commission had tried to commission water-carrying helicopters to ‘bomb’ the seat of the fire but extra men were brought in and taken to the up the  hillside by the Sea King helicopter from RAF Kinloss.

The blaze had been spreading on five fronts and several miles long, hundreds of feet up into the hills at Drumburn and near 1700ft Criffel.

The Royal Navy Sea King helicopter was drafted in as the flames spread with hundreds of acres of grass, heather and bushes and shrubs destroyed.

Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue’s assistant chief officer, Hamish McGhie has been leading the fire fight from a special control centre set up at Ardwall Mains, near New Abbey.

He said: “The fire was in such a remote area that we were having great difficulty getting men and equipment up there. “We managed to get the helicopter and were able to ferry the men up to the fire along with beaters and other equipment.”

The firefighters went back into action after being withdrawn on Monday night because of the dangers on the hillside.

The first 40 forestry and firefighters made their way up at first light and then the helicopter ferried another 30 plus up as they were brought in from all over Dumfries and Galloway.

At first the blaze was confined to grass, heather and shrubs on Drumburn Hill near Kirkbean, about 10 miles south of Dumfries near the Solway coast. But it spread on to neighbouring Boreland Hill threatening a forest there.

Bill Coombes, the Forestry Commission’s environmental officer said: “We are all delighted that we were able to get it under control.

Assistant chief fire officer, McGhie said it was a very serious fire and the firefighters had been brought off the hill overnight and then re-deployed in the early morning.”

He added: “We had around 20 firefighters and 20 forestry workers but we brought more men in and the commision did  the same.

 “It is an extremely remote area and no property has been damaged and no one has been injured.”

The Forestry Commission brought in four wheel drive machines, quad bikes and all-terrain vehicles to try and get vital equipment several hundred feet up the hillside.

The blaze could be seen for miles around and across South Dumfriessshire across the Solway in Cumbria.

The blaze is one of the most serious for many years and is has a number of fronts extending for several miles.

One firefighters described it as the worst grass fire he had been at and said : “It’s a huge fire and every this is so dry. It is spreading so fast that it was too dangerous to be out during night.”

Late on Tuesday there were more fire scares when blazes broke out on rough grand near New Galloway and Gatehouse of Fleet but they were quickly extinguished.

bthe hillsides were ablaze at Drumburn, near Kirkbean Drumburn Fire Drumburn Fire


GARAGE bosses were yesterday (SUN) counting the cost after a tractor and trailer ploughed into their garage forecourt.

Seven cars were written off and six more were damaged in the carnage at tiny Torthorwald village about three miles north of Dumfries.

The tractor and trailer loaded with silage tore up the pavement, demolished a brick wall, ran over cars and ended up on the roofs of some them.

And it has renewed calls for a bypass for the village – a fight that has been going on for more than 20 years without success.

Robert Murray, a partner at Torr Garage said their damage to vehicles was more than £30,000.

The total cost of the crash could rise to £75,000 after with the tractor also written off.

It’s the third time the garage has been hit by vehicles in the past five years.

Mr Murray said: “I was standing only yards from where the tractor crashed and I shouted to the other lads to help the tractor driver and I called the emergency services.

“I saw the tractor run over two cars and then hit the others. We’re counting the cost today and we’ve seven written off and six others were damaged.”

But miraculously no one was injured in the latest accident and Mr Murray said; “The local parish council and villagers have been calling for a bypass.

“The police have been very active here recently and their mobile speed machine registered one vehicle coming into the village at 55mph.

“Heavy lorries come through all the time and the village is on a steep hill. Some of the bricks from the wall flew about 50 or 60 yards. It was a terrible noise.”

 The accident happened on the A709 Dumfries – Lockerbie road just after the garage had opened.

Robert’s father Graham said: “It’s a miracle no one was walking past or coming in to look at the cars.

“Normally there are a few people about but we had just opened. We just heard a tremendous banging and saw the tractor coming over.”

“We don’t know what happened but the driver is alright although he was shocked like everyone else.

“This is the third time something like this has happened. A car skidded on ice and hit cars and in another one a lorry knocked electricity poles down and knocked part of the showroom down.”

Dumfries and Galloway Police said they were investigating the accident.

A spokesman said: “Heavy breakdown vehicles had to be brought in to clear the debris and the road was closed for some time.”

bGraham Murray who heard a tremendous bang The crash scene at Torr Garage