A FORMER top cop today branded the case of a criminal who committed a robbery while on day release as "horrendous".

Barry Conroy carried out a daylight raid on a luxurious mansion during a day release from Castle Huntly.

The 40-year-old terrorised a family during the armed raid last summer in East Renfrewshire.

Scottish Prison officials today said the incident was "disappointing".

As previously reported by the Evening Times, the victims were family members of convicted drug dealer Sultan Mohammed.

Conroy forced his way inside and tied up four adults before stealing about £2000.

Today Scottish Labour's justice spokesman Graeme Pearson blasted the decision to allow Conroy out on day release from the open prison.

He told the Evening Times: "Before any prisoner is released, a proper risk assessment should take place.

"It is horrendous that a prisoner, who was on day release, could commit such a crime.

"I hope the prison authority learn lessons from this case for the future."

Conroy and another man stormed into the house, Rockwood, near Barrhead, on June 27 last year. Last month, he was jailed for eight-and-a-half years at the High Court in Glasgow after pleading guilty in relation to the raid.

Conroy has been in prison since 1996.

Mohammed, who was jailed for drugs offences in 2011, was a prisoner at Castle Huntly open jail with Conroy.

A Scottish Prison Service spokeswoman said: "The granting of temporary release on licence conditions is an integral part of preparing prisoners for release.

"Each individual who begins the process is subject to rigorous risk assessment at each stage.

"It is disappointing when rare individuals choose to abuse the trust and responsibility placed with them.

"It should be noted that the vast majority of prisoners who are granted access to the community adhere to the conditions placed upon them.

"Any breach of licence immediately results in a return to closed conditions.

"The circumstances in this case were subject to a thorough internal investigation.

"Appropriate action was taken to avoid a repeat."

rebecca.gray@ eveningtimes.co.uk