Armed robbers get 8 years for Capital bookies raids

Darren Lamb and Dale Thomas targeted branches of Ladbrokes in Edinburgh. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Darren Lamb and Dale Thomas targeted branches of Ladbrokes in Edinburgh. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Two armed robbers who launched terrifying raids at branches of a major bookmaker have been jailed for more than eight years.

One woman employee had a screwdriver thrust towards her face as demands were made for cash and a manager at a second betting shop was warned he would be murdered if he moved or pressed an alarm.

Darren Lamb was jailed for four years and his accomplice Dale Thomas was sentenced to four years and eight months.

A judge told the pair at the High Court in Edinburgh that the offences were bound to attract significant custodial sentences.

The Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Carloway, told unemployed Lamb, 25, that he would have faced a six-year sentence but for his guilty pleas, and former kitchen porter Thomas, 24, that in his case it would have been seven years.

Thomas, who had been living at a hostel in Pilrig Street, was previously jailed for 18 months for assault and robbery.

They admitted assaulting Paula Davitt at a branch of Ladbrokes in Gorgie Road, and robbing her of £3757 on May 30. The 34-year-old victim was repeatedly threatened with violence during the raid during which a screwdriver and hammer were brandished at her.

They also pleaded guilty to assaulting Gareth Roberts, 27, by brandishing a screwdriver at him and threatening violence and robbing him of £2365 on June 4 at a branch in Morningside Road on June 4.

Lamb, of Whitson Road, had been freed under two bail orders from Edinburgh Sheriff Court at the time of the crimes.

Defence solicitor advocate Stuart Carson, for Lamb, said: “It is acknowledged by him that his conduct here was dreadful and these incidents must have been terrifying for the staff involved.”

He said Lamb had been abusing drugs since the age of about 18 and was latterly using crack cocaine.

He said the offences were intended to obtain money to pay debts and fund the purchase of more drugs.

Defence solicitor advocate Andrew Houston, for Thomas, said he had returned to using drugs and had been taking a heroin substitute and Valium.

He said: “On each of these occasions he and his co-accused were significantly under the influence of drugs.”

Mr Houston said the offences were extremely serious, but were committed with “no great sophistication”.

He said Thomas was readily identifiable and “left a trail of evidence in his wake”.