A RETIRED Army officer who overturned his car in the snow storms battering Scotland had £3,500-worth of equipment stolen when he went to phone for help.
Duncan Francis could not get a mobile signal following the crash so he left his Land Rover on its side in a ditch and walked to get help.
But in the 20 minutes Duncan was away from his stricken vehicle, belongings including his laptop, camera and a top-of-the-range mountaineering jacket he received for Christmas were stolen.
The 57-year-old from Balquhidder, Stirling, said: “I can’t believe how unlucky I’ve been that some scrot came past on a rarely-travelled road in the short time I was away and felt free to lift my gear.”
The climber was on his way to climb in the Aviemore area where he planned to try out his brand new Crux Shok mountaineering jacket worth £190.
That, along with climbing ropes, salopettes, climbing pegs and a week’s worth of mountaineering clothes, was taken.
Duncan was on the B846 just 11 miles from Aberfeldy, when heavy snow set in.
Despite doing his best to drive cautiously, he lost control of his Land Rover just south of the Schiehallion turn off.
Duncan was able to scramble uninjured out of the passenger window before making his way to a nearby house to call for help. He could not lock the vehicle because a rubber door seal had been displaced.
He said: “I was only away for 20 minutes and didn’t realise the stuff had been taken until I was on my way to Aviemore again.”
Only five cars an hour use the road on average.
He added: “Considering how quiet the road is, it’s so unlucky to not only crash but have the things taken when I was only 100 metres away at the house.
“The person perhaps came across to check if people were okay and then spotted their chance.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland is making enquiry after property was stolen from a Landrover Defender sometime between 7.10pm and 8.30pm yesterday evening (Wednesday 11 January) on the B846 Weem to Tummel Bridge Road just before the junction for Schiehallion Road.
“Anyone with any information that may be useful should contact Tayside Division on 101 or any police officer. Alternatively information can be passed anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”