Blantyre has unfortunately always been occasionally burdened with stories of theft or burglary from homes. In 1905, it was no different, though one particular case stands out that year, where the victim was a woman and the choice of location for this theft was rather unusual, with the thief getting more than he bargained for.
The house in question was that of Sergeant Instructor Lavin, a police officer who lived at Rosebank Avenue, Low Blantyre. As if targeting a police officer’s house wasn’t bad enough, this house was also the armoury for Blantyre’s Volunteers where all their rifles and ammo was kept!
It seems that between one and two o’clock on Wednesday 11th October 1905, Mrs Lavin awoke imagining she had heard a noise in one of the rooms of the house. She proceeded to her lobby and was shocked to see a man there standing with her own handbag. Taking the situation in at a glance, she flung open the lobby cupboard and grabbed a rifle, pointing it at the startled man before he had time to react.
She bravely ordered the intruder to drop the bag or she would shoot him. The man had evidently not considered the possibility of encountering guns during his break in and he decided it best to fully comply and Mrs Lavin slowly paced towards him, the long rifle still pointing at his chest. He bolted through the door and by the time Mr Lavin appeared from his bedroom, the whole incident was over and the thief ran off into the night. In a bag left at the scene, the thief had other valuable packed already to the value of around £14.
The incident must have left the Lavin family fairly shocked and thinking further on their own security.
Rosebank Avenue is pictured in modern times.