A 'PECULIAR' burglar who broke into a derelict and abandoned flat at the eyesore Clune Park estate looking for valuables has been fined hundreds of pounds at the sheriff court.

James Dowds, 41, entered the rundown property as part of a bid to 'enhance his financial position', a sentencing hearing was told.

Dowds, who was accompanied on the 'raid' by another man, pleaded guilty to the break-in which occurred at Clune Park Street on June 11, 2022.

A fiscal depute told the court that the flat lay within an derelict common close which was closed off to the public.

The entrance to the close was sealed off by a steel door due to the building being in a state of disrepair.

The fiscal depute said: “A man was made aware of activity on Clune Park Street by his Ring camera system.

(Image: Newsquest)

“He observed two males at the locus, forcing a window and entering the property through said window.”

Concerned that the two men were entering the property unlawfully, the witness contacted police.

Officers were actioned to attend the property at around 6:10pm and did so immediately.

The fiscal depute added: “Upon their arrival, they observed the accused and another male.

“The accused exited the locus via the window and made his way towards Robert Street.

“He was cautioned and charged and made no reply.”

Defence solicitor Gerry Keenan said Dowds, previously of Port Glasgow, had since moved out of Inverclyde in a bid to ‘enhance his lifestyle’.

Mr Keenan told Sheriff Anthony McGeehan: “The situation was there was an opportunity to see if there was something within the abandoned property of value to enhance his financial position.

“He comes before you in a wholly different way from that which he presented in 2022.

“He is anxious to get out of the town and continue where he is living.”

Sheriff McGeehan described the incident as ‘peculiar’ given the derelict state of the property.

He ordered Dowds to pay a fine of £540 for the housebreaking, which was reduced from £600 for the timing of his plea.

Dowds was also fined £200 for previously failing to appear a court hearing in January.