Thursday, March 12, 2009

Celtic fan attempts fraud

THE suspicions of an Edinburgh golf professional have helped jail a man for two years and recover £160,000 in cash.

John McFarlane, of the prestigious Prestonfield Club in Edinburgh, told a Sheriff Court he suspected something was not right when Brian McSorley turned up for a round of golf wearing a Celtic football top and jogging trousers.

However, he let 26-year-old McSorley, from Greenock, play after he agreed to buy a sweater and trousers from the club shop.

But as the inexperienced player struggled to get off the first tee, the club pro checked inside the holdall he had left behind and was shocked to find it filled with bank notes.

By the time police arrived at Prestonfield, McSorley had already fled, but he was soon tracked down to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Edinburgh.

Officers revealed that they found McSorley lying on a bed in the £250-a-night hotel surrounded by the cash.

Mr McFarlane, 38, told Greenock Sheriff Court: "I agreed to look after a holdall for the guy.


"Obviously, I had doubts about him when he turned up wearing a Celtic top and athletics trousers.

"He also had tattoos and didn't look like the type we get at the club. I had second thoughts again when I saw him swing wildly and miss.

"His bag was blocking my path to the kettle and I couldn't believe how heavy it was when I moved it.

"Then I was astonished when I peeked inside and saw all this cash."

The court was told that McSorley had gone on a £10,000 spending spree after finding the cash lying in a bag in a Greenock Cemetery. A charge that he had stolen the money in a break-in was dropped.

McSorley's defence lawyer, Lorenzo Alonzi, said that the find had proved irresistible for his client, who was not used to such sums of money.

He said: "He was faced with temptation and he could not resist."

However, the unemployed accused was found guilty and jailed for two years for reset.
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