Boy’s ‘stolen’ ukulele tale ends on a high note

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A ten-year-old music fan was left devastated after his ukulele was stolen from a Lothian Bus in January.

But the story has ended as happily as a George Formby tune however after police were able to recover the tiny guitar from the thieves.

Rory Mackinnon is a big fan of the ukulele. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Rory Mackinnon is a big fan of the ukulele. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

CCTV footage from the bus led officers to the home of a 14-year-old boy who had allegedly stolen the ukulele and given it to his younger sister as a present.

Today, primary six pupil Rory spoke of his relief that it had been found after three months so he can continue music lessons at school.

He said: “I felt annoyed and upset when it was gone and I was very relieved to get it back.

“My music teacher had put dots on the strings so I could learn the chords and the dots were still on it.

“Ukuleles are very popular at my school. When I got one from my grandparents for my tenth birthday, lots of my friends started bringing them to school too. I like rap music and music with a beat to it, but I like playing the ukulele as well.”

Campie Primary pupil Rory had been travelling from his home in Musselburgh to his grandparents’ house in Mountcastle after school on January 27 as his mum, Louise, was in hospital following a hip replacement.

After getting off the bus to be greeted by his grandad, Ross Collie, 68, the youngster realised he did not have his ukulele, which he’d been learning to play for five months.

His gran, Helen, 66, said: “He was upset to lose his ukulele and it was even harder for him because his mum was in hospital.

“We phoned Lothian Buses and they said they had found it. I rushed to their office in Hanover Street but it turned out they just had its case. Someone had taken out the instrument.

“Rory still had his bus ticket so we knew the exact bus he was on. Lothian Buses said we should report it to police as they could pass the CCTV footage on to them.”

A police officer reviewing the footage spotted a pair of teenagers making off with the ukulele on the bus and was later able to identify them.

Mum Louise, 41, a dance instructor, said: “The police went to one of the boy’s houses and found he had given the ukulele to his younger sister. Rory was over the moon to get it back. He’s been learning the chords and loves to strum away on it.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman confirmed that “two 14-year-old males have been reported to the Children’s Reporter and police were able to retrieve the stolen item”.

Strings are looking up

THE popularity of ukuleles has soared in the Lothians with one city music shop selling the instrument on a daily basis.

Russell Watkins, sales adviser at the Rae Macintosh Musicroom on Shandwick Place, said: “It’s a really flexible instrument that can be played across the generations.

“The ukulele is portable and very accessible. Because it’s only got four strings it’s a bit easier to get into than the guitar.

“We sell them from £20 up to top of the range ones at £200.

“It’s a fun instrument. It’s perfect for the summer.”

Sir Paul McCartney, Will.I.Am, and Elvis Costello are all known to play the instrument.