A former rugby player has been jailed for three years today after taking part in a raid on a woman’s house during which robbers claimed to be police.
Kenneth Blyth, 33, and his accomplice William Gardner, 51, smashed their way into the woman’s home armed with knives as the victim heard a shout: “It’s the police.”
The pair broke into the house in Dunbar after breaking glass in the front door before threatening and robbing her of money, jewellery, watches, prescription medication and drugs.
A judge told the robbers at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You are two big, bulky men. This was a woman on her own. She must have been extremely distressed by what you did.”
Judge Tom Hughes QC said they had been involved in a “very disturbing incident”.
He jailed Gardner for five and a half years and told him: “Because of the serious nature of the offence and also because of your record of previous convictions a custodial sentence in inevitable.”
Blyth and Gardner, both of Edinburgh, earlier admitted assaulting and robbing the woman on April 20 this year.
Advocate depute Duncan McPhie said she was at home when she heard a loud bang and the sound of glass smashing and heard a male voice shouting.
She went into the hall and was confronted by the intruders and Gardner told her to empty her pockets and she handed him £200.
He went through the pockets of a jacket hanging on a bedpost and took a bag containing Pandora charms.
Mr McPhie said: “Gardner searched through drawers and took two watches and continually shouted at her and demanded to know where her valuables were.”
The prosecutor said that both men left the scene carrying bags after the robbery.
A neighbour saw the pair enter the house and contacted the police. Officers saw the pair walking near the scene and noted that Blyth, who was on bail at the time, was carrying a large Ikea bag which looked full and they were arrested.
Defence counsel Lorraine Glancy said that Gardner had a long term problem with addiction to heroin.
She said: “He understands that the experience for the victim would have been a frightening one and he understands that it is completely unacceptable behaviour on his part.”
Tony Lenehan, counsel for Blyth, said: “He played rugby at a high level, reaching the stage of semi-professional.”
Mr Lenehan said that a knee injury Blyth sustained in 2009 effectively ended his sporting career and was prescribed an opiate based painkiller. He said that when doctors realised that there was a problem with this he was then given methadone.
He told the court: “This is not a man of violence.” He said Blyth had never previously been jailed.