A SQUAD of vigilante milkmen have revealed how they help police crack crime during their early morning rounds.
The eagle-eyed workers at the dairy in Kirkcaldy, Fife, have stopped crooks breaking into homes, stealing cars, and even pinching manhole covers.
On another occasion they spotted a notorious criminal who had broken out of jail.
Tommy Carr, one of the drivers at McQueens Dairies, said: “I’ve reported something to the police almost every day.
“It obviously helps the community by spotting things that are happening – the most common ones are people trying to steal cars or break into houses.
“But a few years ago we caught people trying to steal manhole covers off drains and weighing in the metal to cash for scrap.”
The 26-year-old added: “Last winter I was delivering in Dunfermline and we had a note that said the milk was to be left at the back door because the customer was on holiday.
“When I went round the back I saw the light was on. It looked a bit strange so I checked when I got back to the depot and confirmed in our noted that the owners were away.
“I phoned the police and a few weeks later we were told the house had been broken into.”
But the milkman insisted he was no hero but reassured sleeping customers he was always “on the lookout”.
He added: “It’s no use hanging about and waiting – you tell the police what you see and get on with the job of delivering customers’ milk.
“We get emails and calls back from the police asking for us to speak as witnesses.
“We’re always on the lookout if anything doesn’t look normal”.
Depot manager Calum McQueen – who started working at his father’s firm as milkboy when he was 12 – revealed one of his staff spotted notorious criminal Brian “the hawk” Martin.
Martin was three years into a 10-year sentence for firing a gun in a house in Fife when he fled Castle Huntly – an open prison near Dundee.
He eventually handed himself in to officers in Kinross, Fife after dairy workers spotted him just six miles away.
Mr McQueen, 29, said: “One guy who has been with us for 11 years has spoken to the police numerous times.
“He caught someone trying to break into a garage in Dunfermline and he knows for a fact that guy got caught because he reported him.
“Back in 2009 when prisoner Brian Martin broke out of jail in Dundee our guy was convinced he spotted him in Kelty.
“He reported the sighting and it turned out he had actually been in the area at the time.”
But Mr McQueen insisted their priority was to deliver the milk first and “keep people safe” second.
He added: “There’s no one really around at that time of night especially after the pubs and stuff are shut when people have gone to bed.
“We’re out doing the rounds usually between 1am and 7am – but in terms of spotting wrongdoers I’d say we see most action between three and half five.
“Our main aim is to just get out and do our job and provide a good service delivering milk – but if we can help keep our communities safer while we do that then great.”
Police bosses thanked the dairy workers for helping bring crooks to justice.
Chief Inspector Angela McLaren from Dunfermline Police said: “We are always grateful for all information and assistance provided by members of the public, including early morning workers such as milk and postal delivery staff.”