EVEN in these bewildering times when “expect the unexpected” is the most reliable guidance to follow there are developments we never thought we’d see. And perhaps the most extraordinary of all comes with the revelation that three Inverness care homes have been broken into in a series of robberies which are believed to be connected.
It takes time to sink in. And even then you’re left with a sense of disbelief.
In many years of covering criminality in the Highland capital I pretty much thought I’d seen and heard it all. But this plumbs all known depths of coronavirus callousness.
The “clap for carers” initiative has echoed up and down the land.
The trauma within care homes everywhere as the death tolls have veered upwards has been a source of intense national concern.
Relatives of elderly people within them have been denied access for weeks on end as a result of total and essential lockdown. Some old folk have died, in the saddest circumstances imaginable, isolated and alone.
Staff wearing face masks struggle to cope with a situation which tests their fortitude and resilience to the very limit.
And yet, a plan was conceived somewhere in or near Inverness.
Let’s rob care homes.
To say this beggars belief is an inadequate understatement. It involves a level of flagrant disregard for basic humanity which surpasses anything most people could imagine.
The mindset of a criminal element which targets care homes at this incredibly difficult time for these establishments is unfathomable. Are those responsible mindlessly, recklessly stupid, or do their actions merit the extreme description – evil. Most people would not be willing for a second to give them the benefit of the doubt.
The homes targeted were Cameron House in Culduthel Road, Kinmylies Lodge Care Home in Kinmylies Way and Highview House Care Home in Scorguie Avenue.
In total £700 was stolen, but the amount is irrelevant in relation to the awfulness of the crime.
Detective Sergeant Graeme Johnstone, of Inverness CID, said: “Targeting care homes in this way is a particularly cruel act and extensive enquiries are ongoing to identify whoever is responsible. We believe all three incidents are linked and enquiries have established that a grey Audi S5 car was seen in each area overnight.”
We can only hope these extensive inquiries – and we can be sure that they are very extensive indeed – yield results. That those responsible are hauled before the courts and given the severest sentences possible.
And that they are named and shamed amid the coronavirus crisis and attract a level of public revulsion that these most wretched individuals will never be able to shake off.