A THIEVING pensioner who raked in thousands of pounds plundering vehicles at city centre car parks can today be unmasked as child rapist Andrew Yeaman.
The 71-year-old sex offender is the mastermind behind a five-year crime wave that saw laptops, tablet computers, passports and suitcases stolen from family cars stationed in NCP car parks.
Serial thief Yeaman initially faced 36 counts of breaking into and looting locked vehicles from 2007-2012 but after plea bargaining with prosecutors these were reduced to just 12.
The elderly crook brazenly prowled city multi-storeys – including Greenside, Castle Terrace and Elder Street – peeking through car windows to select the most lucrative vehicles to rob.
Yeaman was finally traced after a CCTV image captured at Greenside car park, beside the Omni Centre, featured on the front page of the Evening News, prompting a flood of phone calls to the police incident room.
The thief, a former Merchant Navy second mate who was raised in Leith but lives in Musselburgh, is understood to communicate with an electronic device after having his voice box removed through throat cancer in the 1990s.
In 1998, he was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment for raping a ten-year-old girl at his then home in Northfield Park, Edinburgh.
Passing sentence at the time, Lord Dawson said Yeaman’s crimes – which included making video tapes of the underage sex acts – were “absolutely appalling”.
Despite a serious criminal past, the Gulf War veteran was handed just 200 hours’ community service for his recent rampage, sparking fury that he dodged a jail term.
Today, senior Scottish Conservatives said the judiciary’s “soft touch” on sentencing was counterproductive and failed to deter other would-be thieves.
Tory chief whip John Lamont said: “He may be considerably more senior than most car thieves, and perhaps that played a part in him dodging a jail term.
“However, if someone is fit and able enough to steal cars, they’re able to serve time.
“This is a sentence of very light punishment, and will do little to deter other car thieves, or indeed this man, from re-embarking on his habit.”
Former policeman Cameron Rose, leader of the Scottish Conservatives at City Chambers, echoed this view.
He said: “This sounds like one of these cases that causes members of the public to lose faith in the criminal justice system.
“This appears to be another incidence of the criminal justice system being a soft touch.
A spokesman for Victim Support Scotland said: “As a matter of principle we never comment on individual cases however in such generic types of cases clearly there are many victims and the public has to rely on the courts imposing the appropriate sentence as they are the only people who hear and can have regard to all of the facts which pertain.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Following a spate of thefts from a public car park in Edinburgh’s city centre last year, officers carried out a robust inquiry and Andrew Yeaman was subsequently identified and charged.
“His guilty plea is testament to the evidence police gathered against him.”
It is understood Yeaman has been divorced for many years and has two daughters that he does not see regularly.
Yeaman has been on the sex offenders register since being jailed for the rape of the young girl in 1998.