Career criminal starts his 31st sentence

Robert Adamson was jailed for nine years at the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Bill Henry

Robert Adamson was jailed for nine years at the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Bill Henry

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A CAREER robber was beginning his thirty-first sentence today - for a handful of cash and cigarettes.

Public menace Robert Adamson, 46, remained hand-cuffed in the dock at the High Court in Edinburgh as judge Lord Boyd fixed his latest jail term at nine years.

And the judge heard that Adamson may have wanted to go back to prison, because he could not cope with life as a free man.

Earlier the judge heard how homeless Adamson armed himself with a large kitchen knife to raid a newsagents’ in Joppa Road, Edinburgh.

Shop manager Callum Urquhart was terrified as Adamson leaned over the counter to grab the tray from the open till, then demanded a box full of cartons of cigarettes.

Adamson had walked into the shop asking for tobacco. Mr Urquhart thought he was fumbling in his pockets for money, until Adamson produced his knife.

The robber left mumbling something about “phone the police.”

At the time of the robbery last July 30 Adamson was still on licence. He had been freed early from his last sentence the previous September.

The court was given the highlights of his criminal career going back to May 1987 when Adamson was sent to a young offenders’ institute for 30 days for a breach of the peace and, a month later, two years detention for assault and robbery.

In October 1992 he was sentenced to eight years for assault and robbery and firearms offences.

Adamson had another Firearms Act conviction in 1997.

In May 2006 he was jailed for nine years for assault and robbery but the judge made an order keeping Adamson on licence for an extra three years.

Today, Lord Boyd used the fact that Adamson was on licence at the time of the Joppa Road raid to order him back to prison for four and a half years left over from the May 2006 sentence.

The judge then added another four and a half years for the new offence.

Defence QC Ian Duguid admitted: “He does present as a significant risk to the public at large.”

The lawyer said Adamson now recognised that the robbery was “inexcusable” but he had become a drug addict during one of his previous long prison sentences and could not cope on the outside without controlled drugs.

A background report had suggested that Adamson had become “institutionalised.”

Mr Duguid said: “He thinks in hindsight that this offence may have been committed with a view to being returned to custody.”