Ukraine crisis: Scots landscape gardeners who drove over to help people escape are shot at by Russian soldiers

Two Scots landscape gardeners who drove a van to Ukraine to help people escape the invasion have been shot at by Russian soldiers and had their vehicle “raided”.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

Gary Taylor, 45, from Bonnyrigg, went out last week with his 55-year-old friend and colleague Joe McCarthy, from Falkirk, to rescue people who wanted to leave but had no transport.

They have completed two "missions" to help people get to safety, taking them across the border to Poland and Romania.

Joe McCarthyJoe McCarthy
Joe McCarthy
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The pair have been sharing some of their journey by livestream and on TikTok clips.

But in a tearful video post on social media on Sunday, Joe’s wife Fiona revealed they had encountered a Russian convoy.

She said: "Guys, they won't be back online. They've had their van raided. They've shot the tyres out, two front tyres. They've taken Joe's phone, so all they've got left is Gary's phone.

"They’ll definitely not be back online because the TikTok was all on Joe's phone. I'll keep you updated as much as I can but please, keep praying for them, thank you."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In another message later, she was able to report the pair were safe and getting back on the road.

“Some Ukrainians have helped them – they’re at a garage getting new tyres.”

Putin could end up in dock over Ukraine invasion, says ex-PM Brown

Fiona has been updating supporters regularly on the men’s progress.

In another post earlier on Sunday, she said they had entered the city of Sumy, where they were due to pick up people.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"All the roads were blocked off so they managed to get a police escort in, but they’re now stuck behind a large convoy of army vehicles so it’s going to be a wee while before they actually get to the families they’re picking up and then probably the same trying to get back out again.”

But then later she had to report: “They’ve had to turn back. The Russian army have fired shots at them as a warning and told them to turn back so unfortunately they won’t be able to get to the families. I’m afraid they’ve not been able to collect them.

"I think they're safe-ish for now but there's troops and troops of Russian army passing by them. Please pray for them."

Joe has described how he decided he could not just sit and watch the invasion unfold on television without trying to help.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On a GoFundMe page he set up to raise cash for the trip, he said: “My name is Joe and my business is Ready2Rock Landscaping. After watching the news all day on Thursday I decided I needed to go and help people who are stuck or having to walk to the border because they have no transport. Gary who works with me agreed to come along too. We emptied out the van, carpeted the back and have sleeping bags and duvets to keep people warm. We will pick up food and water supplies as we get closer. Any donations to help us on our mission will be much appreciated. Thank you very much. Joe & Gary.”

The page has already raised more than £18,000.

The Foreign Office advice is that British nationals should not travel to Ukraine.

Read More
The Russian products being removed by UK supermarkets

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Related topics: