THREE men have been fined after they were found within the old Seafield School in Ardrossan without lawful authority to be there.

Steven Thomas Cobley, 41, Brandon David Campbell, 20, and Sean Ward, 19, pled guilty to one charge at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court this week.

Cobley, of Tollerton Drive in Irvine, Campbell of Castleview in Dundonald, and Ward, of Kilwinning’s Skelmorlie Place, were found within the derelict building on Eglinton Road and in the circumstances it could be reasonably inferred that they intended to commit theft theft there.

The court heard that the former building has been subject to vandalisms and thefts of copper and Ardrossan’s former Seafield School. lead from within.

A neighbour contacted police just after 3pm on Sunday, April 9 after seeing the three accused within the locus “acting suspiciously” and seeming to be looking for a way into the building.

When police attended, they went inside and observed Cobley, Campbell, and Ward running along a hallway and into a room out of sight. Officers caught up with them.

All three said they were there to take photographs because they like derelict buildings.

Police searched the men and found nothing on them but a search of Campbell’s vehicle found a sledgehammer from the boot area and a search of Cobley’s vehicle recovered two crowbars.

They were informed that they were under arrest and were cautioned and charged. Defending Cobley, solicitor Mr Glencross, said that aside from a previous speeding fine, his client is “effectively a first offender”.

He added: “The premises have been unoccupied for some time. I think they were looking to see what could be found. My position is his lack of record.”

Defence lawyer Graeme Cunningham said: “I would invite his Lordship to take Brandon Campbell as a first offender. “He has no previous convictions. This is a lesson learned here. I don’t think the court’s likely to see him again.”

Ward’s solicitor, Mr McPhee, said that his client is a first offender, adding: “He accepts that he shouldn’t have been there.

“The photographs - there is an element of truth to that. He is a student of photography and he’s interested in abandoned buildings.

“It was an isolated incident.”

Sheriff Michael Hanlon said: “I’m taking into account that all three of you, for all intents and purposes, are appearing as either first offenders or with little experience of dishonesty.

“All will be fined the sum of £180.

“If it was not for your plea of guilty it would have been £200.”