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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 13:11 GMT
Thief stranded on remote island
Colonsay
The last crime on the island was in 2004
A thief took advantage of the trusting nature of residents on a crime-free island only to find he could not get off the isle with his takings.

James Harvie stole 60 from a pensioner while visiting Colonsay, but could not make his escape because there was no ferry sailing that day.

The Argyll and Clyde island does not have a full-time police officer and residents said crime is rare.

Harvie was found guilty and fined 400 at Oban Sheriff Court.

The last offence on Colonsay - which is visited by a ferry three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday - was in 2004 when a number of cars were stolen, driven and later abandoned.

We are very fortunate we live in a beautiful time warp where there is no crime
Angus McPhee,
Island resident

Harvie's actions outraged islanders, who take great pride in their trusting nature.

The 37-year-old, from Glasgow, was working with a team installing a disability ramp and new paving at the island's school.

He met his victim, Davie Sutherland, after offering to deliver surplus wood from the school job to his house for kindling.

Mr Sutherland, an RAF dispatch rider during World War II, paid Harvie 10 for a bag of wood.

Angus McPhee, former chairman of Colonsay Community Council, said the thief struck while Mr Sutherland was out and while the pensioner's partner Margaret Darroch was in hospital for cancer treatment.

'Close-knit'

Mr McPhee said: "He'd gone into Davie's home, found his money box, found 60 in it and lifted it.

"There's no crime - it doesn't rear its ugly head here. We are very fortunate we live in a beautiful time warp where there is no crime."

Harvie was spotted by people in a nearby cottage and Don MacLeod, a joiner and special constable, was notified.

The island does not have police cells and Harvie spent an evening under the watch of the islanders. There was also no ferry until the following day.

Harvie was fined and ordered to pay Mr Sutherland 60 in compensation.

Mr McPhee said: "We are a close-knit community and we won't change our lifestyle."


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