SOCIAL workers have moved in to a home for the elderly in the

Highlands to look after the 21 residents following an investigation into

allegations of ill-treatment of them and sexual harassment of staff.

Owners of the Balmoral Lodge in the Ross-shire spa village of

Strathpeffer have been informed by Highland region that they are to be

stripped of their registration.

Social work managers moved in at the weekend following a private

meeting of the Registration Panel and gave Mr Bill Monaghan, his wife

Margaret, and son Paul the ultimatum: agree to social workers moving in

or we will move the residents out.

The social work move followed a police investigation at the large

stone house which can accommodate up to 28 residents.

A spokesman for Northern Constabulary said: ''A complaint has been

investigated by the police and nothing of a criminal nature was


Confirming the move at the weekend a spokesman for Highland region

said: ''At a private meeting of the registration panel, certain matters

relating to the suitability of those running the home were discussed and

the owners of Balmoral Lodge were notified of the decision to move to

deregistration. They have 14 days to show reason why this should not


It is understood several of the staff of 20 have left or been

suspended recently and complaints from them led to the social work


An insider said yesterday that the Monaghans had run Balmoral Lodge

for almost 10 years and were ''devastated'' by the allegations.

She said: ''The home is inspected by the council three or four times a

year and there has never been any trouble before. I know the Monaghans

intend to fight this all the way.

''Apart from the police, who found nothing, the social work department

have had all sorts of people like environmental health and even the fire

brigade in to inspect Balmoral Lodge.''

At the home, there was ''absolutely no comment'' from the Monaghan