Hooded raider caged over armed robbery

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By Paul Thornton

A MAN has been jailed for the knifed hold-up of a bookmaker shop after the vicious robbery was caught on CCTV.Sheriff court stock pic

Terrified Alexander French handed over hundreds of pounds of takings after hooded Stephen Rowan flashed a blade at him.

The 50-year-old thief chucked a bag at Mr French and demanded that he fill it with money during the heist at a Coral store in Edinburgh.

Rowan made good his escape but CCTV images were used to help track him down and police found he had been boasting of the attack to pals.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court he was jailed for two years after admitting assault and robbery.

The court heard how Rowan had barged into the betting shop in Great Junction Street on March 26 this year.

Fiscal depute John Kirk said Mr French – a Coral employee – had just finished serving a customer when he was confronted by the knife wielding thug.

Mr Kirk said: “Shortly after midday Mr French was working in the Coral Bookmakers in Great Junction Street. He had just finished serving a customer when the accused appeared in front of him.

“He was wearing a hood tied tightly round his head and he threw a plastic bag at Mr French and said ‘fill it up’.”

Mr Kirk said Mr French noticed a four-inch silver blade in Rowan’s left hand and had no option but to hand over £280 in the bag before calling police.

Officers investigating circulated CCTV images which were taken in the shop and days later two policeman investigating another matter were told Rowan had been bragging about the robbery.

When they raided his home they found the knife concerned and the clothes that he had been wearing and Rowan admitted his crime during interview.

He claims he needed the cash to fund a 20-year heroin addiction that has cost him his family and asked that he be considered for a drug treatment order to battle the problem.

But Sheriff Derrick McIntyre told him: “If you go around producing a knife and threatening people for money you pay the punishment.”

Sheriff McIntyre sentenced Rowan to two years in custody, which he backdated to April when he was first held over the robbery.

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