Bookie dared armed robber to shoot him in chest

Peter Morris, right, has become a local celebrity as news of his heroics spread. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Peter Morris, right, has become a local celebrity as news of his heroics spread. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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A FEARLESS bookie thwarted an armed robbery by mocking the thief then asking to be shot so he could claim compensation.

Peter Morris, 50, had been working behind a protected counter of the Ferry Road betting shop on Tuesday when the robber launched his ill-fated hold-up.

During a quiet spell at the Scotbet store, the thief casually strolled up to the plastic screen and handed over a betting slip bearing the message: “Be quiet, fill this bag with money or I’ll shoot you in the face. Chop, Chop.”

Mr Morris told how he looked down at the large bag thrust under the screen before meeting the robber’s panicked eyes, telling him: “Nae danger.”

With a handgun aimed squarely at his chest, Mr Morris slowly tore to pieces the threatening note before challenging the raider to shoot him

“I told him: ‘Shoot me in the arm and I’ll get a lot of money’,” he said. “‘If you shoot me in the face you’re not going to get anything’.

“He then cocked the gun and pointed it at my chest. I said: ‘Go for it’ and he just turned around and left the shop.”

Mr Morris said his courageous response to the life-or-death ordeal was “natural instinct”, but since word of his heroics spread around the neighbourhood he has become something of a local celebrity.

Customers and local residents have been quick to pat him on the back and some have even bowed down on the street to hail his bravery. He was even greeted with a warm round of applause at his regular pub Oceana.

The botched Scotbet raid comes less than a fortnight after an almost identical hold up at a nearby BP garage. The same “silverly blue” handgun was used in both robberies. The man escaped with a three-figure sum in the first raid.

Mr Morris said the suspect spoke with a Scottish accent and had been watching the racing on the store’s TVs for 15 minutes before launching his heist. He said he “immediately thought something was strange” when the crook walked in at around 6.30pm.

Detectives have been trawling through CCTV from Scotbet and neighbouring shops with footage showing a man sprinting down Ferry Road towards Great Junction Street.

Mr Morris said: “They think it’s definitely the same guy [as the BP garage]. It’s got to be somebody local.”

He urged anyone who knew anything about the suspect to contact police, adding: “I was fortunate enough but it might turn out he does shoot somebody – I don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

The robber is described as a white man in his mid-40s, around 5ft 5in tall with a slender build and stubble.

He was wearing a black hat, waterproof black gloves, a khaki green jacket, dark jeans with faded patches and notable turn-ups and brown ankle boots.

Police released CCTV images of the suspect from the BP raid last week, but he is yet to be traced. Detective Sergeant Lynsey Thomson said: “While this robbery was unsuccessful, this incident was very distressing for the member of staff and we are keen to trace the suspect as soon as possible. Any witnesses who may have seen the suspect, or who recognise the description, are asked to come forward.”