Firefighters Evacuate More Than 50 Homes In Blaze Drama

By Michael MacLeod & Shaun Milne

More than 50 homes in West Lothian were evacuated tonight (tues) after a massive blaze ripped through a builders’ yard.

Fire-fighters tackling the incident ordered a 300 meter cordon to be setup around the site in Armadale for fears of an explosion.

Several acetylene cylinders – used for supplying gas to welding or cutting gear – were thought to be stored on the site.

A building known locally as the old chapel was also said to have almost completely collapsed.

There were no reports of injury. Continue reading

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Man On Trial Over ‘Menacing’ Letters To Scottish Parliament

By Michael MacLeod

A 70-YEAR-OLD man has gone on trial accused of sending “menacing” letters to staff at the Scottish Parliament.

Pensioner John Campbell is alleged to have left staff at the Holyrood building fearing they could face an explosion.

Two parliament workers, including the Scottish National Party’s head of press Elizabeth Lloyd, both said they felt threatened by letters sent by Mr Campbell in 2008.

They also told how, since the 9/11 attacks in New York, certain items of mail received by the Parliament are now screened and opened in controlled conditions in case of harmful chemicals.

The letters in question were addressed only to “Holyrood Building, Edinburgh” and were handed over to police by staff who claim they were left “alarmed and disturbed” by the contents.

Mr Campbell, of Uphall, West Lothian, denies committing a breach of the peace between 14 January and 12 March 2008.

Police

The contents of the letters were agreed by his solicitor and a Crown prosecutor yesterday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

One of the letters read: “To each and every one of you SMPs had better start proving yourselves now.

“Each and every one of you shall be watched and fail Scotland and its people at your own risk.

“You have until the day of St Andrew 2008 to prove yourselves to the people of Scotland.

“If you fail then you and yours will pay the full price. Wallace, Bruce and followers didn’t fight and die for nothing. Continue reading

Police Peg Hopes Of Finding Missing Suzanne Pilley In Argyll

By Shaun Milne & Cara Sulieman

THE ex lover of missing bookkeeper Suzanne Pilley found himself hanging out to dry today (Tues) – as police stepped up their hunt for his missing work colleague.

David Gilroy spent the day at his Edinburgh home carrying out domestic chores and braved waiting reporters only long enough to hang out some washing in the back garden of the Silverknowes property.

He refused to answer questions about the continued police probe into the death of his former mistress as detectives announced they are basing a full time team at a Scots beauty spot where they believe her body has been dumped.

Police revealed they have now had more than 80 calls about possible sightings of a silver-coloured car in the Argyll area which they say is key to finding out what happened to the 38-year-old who vanished on May 4.

This morning her parents Robert and Sylvia, both 67, said they were too distraught to even contemplate talking about their feelings, exactly three weeks since she last texted them on her way to work. Continue reading

Teen Jailed For Four Years Over Death Of Disabled Man

By Paul Thornton

A TEENAGER has been jailed for four years over the death of a 58-year-old mentally disabled man.

Jason Laird was just 15 years old when he approached Robert Malcolm at a bus shelter in Clydebank.

Drunken Laird demanded a cigarette from Mr Malcolm and insulted him before following him to nearby grassland and attacking him.

He rained punches and kicks onto Mr Malcolm and his victim was found lying beside a set of goalposts shortly after midnight.

Mr Malcolm was taken first to the Western General in Glasgow and then to Stobhill intensive care unit and finally the Western Infirmary.

But he never regained consciousness and died two weeks after the attack due to a haemorrhage to the stomach and blunt force injury to the head. Continue reading

Schoolboy Hailed A Hero After Saving Kids From Drowning

By Cara Sulieman

A teenager has been hailed a hero after risking his own life to save two young children from drowning.

Aaron Love was out cycling in Livingston, West Lothian, when he saw the two youngsters struggling in the water.

The 15-year-old jumped into the water and pulled them to safety on Monday night as he was making his way home for his dinner.

The brother and sister – thought to be aged five and eight – had been playing on a stretch of water near Lizzie Bryce roundabout in Livingston when they got into difficulty.

When Aaron came across their older sister screaming on the bank, he plunged into the muddy water and managed to get them to the side of the bank.

HERO: brave Aaron Love

As well as making his parents Nick and Helen Love very proud, the teenager now stands in line for a bravery award after being nominated by officers from Lothian and Borders Police.

But the Tynecastle High School student said that he hadn’t given it a second thought before he dove in.

He said: “The route that I took when I went cycling takes you past this water – it’s like an old quarry.

“When I had gone past the first time I saw the kids mucking about at the side of the water playing with an old bit of log using it as a raft. Continue reading

Ship Shape Skipper At Heart Of Norfolkline Ferry Anniversary

By Shaun Milne

A ferry skipper’s ship finally came in today (tues) – a year later than planned.

Captain Antonio Arbilli was to have taken the helm of Scotland’s only ferry route to Europe last May.

But the 44-year-old Italian seaman suffered a blockage to his heart only minutes before setting sail from Zebrugge in Belgium for Rosyth where a host of VIPs and dignitaries were waiting to greet the maiden voyage.

Surgeons performed life-saving surgery on the skipper, and a ship-shape Captain Arbrilli was finally handed the honour of commanding the vessel into port to mark celebrations to mark the first anniversary of the service today.

He said: “No one was more disappointed than me that I could not take part in the maiden sailing last year.”

“But bringing the ship in today was my moment of glory. You know this is like a new birthday for me so now I can celebrate twice.

“It’s such an honour to travel this route.

“I always enjoy travelling to Scotland as the passengers are always so friendly and tell me how much they enjoy the ferry.

“It was a big disappointment not being able to travel the first time but I was very pleased to be able to be involved today for the first anniversary.

“I feel amazingly good right now.” Continue reading

Thug Who Robbed War Hero Medals From Sheriff Is Jailed

By Michael MacLeod

A THUG who attacked and robbed a retired sheriff of his wartime medals has been jailed for 38 months.

Michael MacKinnon, 26, burst into 91 year-old William Hook’s Edinburgh townhouse and covered the ex-sheriff’s head with a towel before ransacking his home.

The pensioner bravely fought back and gave the intruder a black eye, forcing him out his back door where he got stuck in a river and was arrested by police.

Today (TUESDAY) sentencing Sheriff Derrick McIntyre told MacKinnon that the fact his victim was also a sheriff was “irrelevant.”

He said: “The point is that this was a 91 year-old man living alone and you assaulted and robbed him.

“Elderly citizens are entitled to feel safe in their own homes from people like you.” Continue reading