An Irvine traveler accused of stealing cash a man had earmarked to visit his grandchildren was jailed this week - for failing to turn up to give evidence and allowing his brother to be cleared of the same charge.

Thomas Reid was said to have stolen £2,400 and a handbag from a retired bank manager, who is now an executive film producer.

Reid, 47, was believed to have swiped the cash and handbag from his home while he and other unknown men carried out gardening work at the pensioner's home in Paisley's Mansionhouse Road.

Reid, and his younger brother William Reid, 27, went on trial at Paisley Sheriff Court last year accused of the theft.

Giving evidence during the trial, the victim said he had been targeted by "cowboy traders" who saw him and his wife as "an opportunity."

Giving evidence about the alleged events of May 6, 2016, he said he struck a deal with the men to cut his trees for £250.

And he said he led one of the men in to the kitchen when he complained of a headache and asked for aspirin. 

He explained: "I stopped and said to the big guy, 'you are a legitimate business?' He said, 'oh yes'.

"If they have a legitimate business, where was their bank account? What was their business called?

"They were a business, but their business wasn't trees.

"Going round identifying people like me and my wife, that was their business.

"I thought these boys were cowboys - that they were cowboy traders - but I didn't have them down for this.

"I don't need to tell you how to do your job but, obviously, it suits these people to change their appearance - blonde, not blonde, a moustache, no moustache, smart, scruffy.

"Older people are considered vulnerable and maybe not as sharp as they should be.

"That money was to go and visit my grandchildren in Ireland and to build a swing.

"My wife and I are just a pair of old pensioners - but to some people we are an opportunity.

"An opportunity to take from and come back, and back, and back - they would've left us with nothing.

"These guys have a habit of coming to the door when there's only one of you in.

"I don't know if they're watching, or whatever."

The man said the workers cut down half the trees they'd agreed to before he left to take his wife to the hospital for an appointment.

And he said that when he returned, about 20 minutes later, the men were no longer there and no more work had been done in the garden. 

He said the money had vanished after the men had been in his home but he said he didn't notice the money, which had been on a unit in the living room, was missing until a few days later. 

He told the court that William Reid, 27, looked like the man who had been in his home and the court heard he picked William out from a series of police mugshots shown to him. 

But he said Thomas was not one of the men he had spoken to inside his house, but that he might have been in his home without his knowledge. 

In June last year, following the man's evidence, Thomas, of Redburn Caravan Park, Irvine, was cleared of all wrongdoing.

The trial against William, of Balloch, Dunbartonshire, was adjourned until July last year for Thomas to give evidence as a Crown witness.

But he failed to appear in court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

In September last year, the case against William Reid had to be dropped as there was no trace of Thomas.

He was found guilty of contempt of court last month and, when he returned to the dock this week to be sentenced, Sheriff Craig Harris caged him for 14 days for what he termed "a very serious" offence.