Freed Scots oil worker Alan Preston home after abduction


A SCOTS oil worker kidnapped in Nigeria has returned home to his family.

Alan Preston, 50, from Pilton, Edinburgh, was last night recovering at home still traumatised from his ordeal in the African country.

Friends said that he was “still very distressed” by his abduction which started with a shoot-out that left his guard dead and another badly injured. Continue reading

Scottish Courts witness bill tops £100,000 a year



SCOTLAND’S courts service is paying out around £100,000 a year bringing witnesses to court from outside Scotland.

In the last five years, £448,166.53 was spent on bringing witnesses to Scotland from the rest of the UK and overseas.

Last year was the highest with a whopping £105,621.34 paid out by the Crown.

But a new law going through Parliament could soon mean that thousands of pounds can be saved for the taxpayer by allowing people outwith Scotland to give evidence through video link.

Continue reading

West Lothian drug cop raids hit the jack-pot thanks to tip offs


DOPEY drug dealers who stole plant pots to grow marijuana were collared after neighbours phoned cops to report the garden thefts.

The tip off about disappearing plant pots was among 39 intelligence-based calls to police that led to 63 arrests in the past five days.

Undercover detectives had been monitoring suspected drug peddlers at around 50 addresses in West Lothian when locals gave them the tip off the needed.

In the biggest series of drugs busts carried out in Lothian and Borders Police history cops discovered the stolen garden pot were being used to grow drugs.cops

And yesterday some locals were even handed back their plant pots by police who praised people for coming forward to help the massive drug dealer crack down.

But officers were unable to put a cost or weight on the amount of drugs recovered, insisting they were instead focusing on the criminal cases now going through the court system.

Chief Superintendent Ronnie Liddle said his staff were “working flat out” to see the alleged dealers convicted.

He said: “The total figures will be available at a later date but that wasn’t our prime target, it was to get through the doors of the individuals and take them out of the game.

“There are now people working flat out to get the court cases ready.” Continue reading

Missing chef Kirsty McManus found safe in Corstorphine


A WOMAN missing for almost a week after she disappeared after a Saturday night out with friends has turned up safe and well.

A huge hunt was launched for Kirsty McManus, 21, a chef from Newtongrange, Midlothian, after she failed to arrive home or turn up for work.

Lothian & Borders Police launched an appeal for help in finding her after her worried parents contacted them saying it was out of character.

Kirsty McManusYesterday the trainee chef was found staying at a flat in the west of the city.

A police spokesman said: “We are pleased to confirm that the missing woman Kirsty McManus has been found safe and well at an address in the Corstorphine area of Edinburgh.

“At this time we would like to thank the media and public for their assistance in publicising her disappearance”. Continue reading

Paintball shooter escapes jail sentence


Allan Weir

A FORMER soldier has told how his life was ruined when a paintball worker shot a gun at him, blinding him in one eye.

Allan Weir, 25, said he lost his job and needs surgery to save his eye after Calvin Blyth shot a loaded paintball gun at his face.

Blyth was working as a senior marshall at the Ape paintballing site in Ratho, near Edinburgh when the incident happened.

The 21-year-old claims he thought the gun was not loaded but failed to check the weapon for any paintballs before he fired it.

Continue reading

Scots charity worker meets Barack Obama’s granny



A SCOTS granddad delivering humanitarian aid to some of the world’s poorest children was left star-struck – after bumping into Barack Obama’s granny.

Charity worker James Harkins, 66, from Crossford, Fife, was in Kenya last month providing help to 40 poor orphans when he got the chance to stop and chat with the US President’s Kenyan grandmother, Mama Sara Obama.

And James was invited to take part in a family snap with a life sized cardboard cut out of Barack himself.

The President’s granny has constant 24-hour security provided by the Kenyan authorities, but the matriarch still insisted on meeting the Scot.

Continue reading

Fears grow for missing Newtongrange chef Kirsty McManus


FEARS were growing last night for the safety of a young woman missing since a night out with friends on Saturday.

Kirsty McManus, 21, from Newtongrange, Midlothian, hasn’t been seen since being with friends in bars around the popular Omni Centre in Edinburgh near the Playhouse Theatre.kirsty-mcmanus1

The last confirmed sighting was when she left to catch a taxi home at about 1.30am on Sunday morning.

Lothian & Borders Police are now investigating her whereabouts after the pretty chef failed to turn up at home or work since.

Worried friends and family say it is very out of character for her to be out of touch for so long.

Parents Christine, 48, and Mick, 49, last night admitted that they “feared the worst” after so long without contact.

Worried mum Christine said: “I’ve not slept a single second since Kirsty went missing. It’s so unlike her.

“She’s a cheery friendly girl who phones me all the time. So this is very unusual. I keep waiting for the phone to ring.

“We sent her loads of texts and phone messages but as each day goes by we really do worry.” Continue reading

Paul McBride QC brands George Foulkes MSP a “joke”

By Paul Thornton

A TOP QC who sparked controversy by switching his political allegiance to the Tories last night branded a top Labour Peer “a joke”.

Paul McBride QC, 44, withdrew his support of the Labour Party last week to join the Conservatives claiming that he had lost faith in their “incompetence”.

Mr McBride – now tipped for a top government job if David Cameron’s party come to power – had previously been a Labour party supporter for almost three decades.

Labour Lothians MSP George Foulkes hit back at his defection by claiming he as a long serving party member had never seen Mr McBride at any fundraising functions for 20 years.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Mr McBride dismissed the MSP’s crticisms and insisted he had been to “many” over the years. Continue reading

Shirley Manson victim of swine flu



SCOTS rocker Shirley Manson is the latest victim of the recent outbreak of swine flu – after she had a tin of haggis confiscated by a US television show.

The Edinburgh-born musician was appearing with fellow Scot Craig Ferguson on his late night chat show on Tuesday when she admitted the show’s producers confiscated the gift she had brought for her host.

The flame-haired singer revealed she had bought Ferguson a tin of Scotland’s national dish to enjoy on the show, but stuffy CBS officials snatched the can from her just as she was about to walk on.

Continue reading

Singing star Susan Boyle’s brother has business X Factor

gerard boyle


THE brother of singing sensation Susan Boyle is cashing in on her fame – with the launch of a new reality TV-style business.

Gerard Boyle, 54, set up Business Academy’s Business in a Box to allow entrepreneurs to start their own company instantly.

When wannabe business folk sign up to the scheme, they will be provided with an office, a website, company stationary, an accountant, a legal team and even a call centre.

Gerard compared the venture to reality talent shows like the ‘X Factor’ and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ – the show that shot sister Susan to stardom – because it provides a fast-track route into a career.

Continue reading