Blade thug tried to rob Nisa Local store in North Berwick

A thug who attempted to rob an East Lothian supermarket while carrying a knife has escaped a jail sentence.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 4:45 pm

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Liam Inglis was armed with a 20cm blade when he burst into the Nisa Local store and demanded cash and cigarettes from assistant Tracey Hillhouse.

But the masked yob was forced to flee the North Berwick store empty-handed after Ms Hillhouse bravely refused to hand anything over to him in March last year.

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Blade bandit Liam Inglis

Inglis, 20, ran from the store and dumped the kitchen knife before being picked up by police who had raced to the scene after being alerted to the armed robbery.

The crook, from Haddington, East Lothian, pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month and he returned for sentencing today .

Lawyer Christopher McFarlane told the court Inglis had carried out “a fairly ham-fisted robbery attempt” and the “incident was over fairly quickly”.

The solicitor said his client’s life was “out of control at the time” due to drug taking but he is now clean after becoming a father for the first time last month.

Mr McFarlane added Inglis “takes full responsibility” for his crime and that he accepts the incident must have been “frightening for the complainer”.

Sheriff Chris Dickson described the robbery attempt as “a seriously matter” but said he was prepared to impose an alternative to a custodial sentence.

Inglis was placed on an 18-month supervision order and told he must carry out 300 hours of unpaid work in the community.

He will also have to wear an electronic tag and stay within his home between 8pm and 5am for the next 150 days.

Sheriff Dickson also banned Inglis form attending at the Nisa Loco store in North Berwick for the next 12 months.

Previously the court was shown CCTV of the incident which showed Inglis entering the store at around 4.30pm on March 5 last year.

The footage showed him dressed all in black, with a snood covering face and him carrying a knife with a 20cm blade.

Prosecutor Gavin Whyte said: “Ms Hillhouse looked up as the accused entered and approached the counter.

“He was discreetly carrying a black handled kitchen knife in his right hand. While holding out a plastic bag he demanded money from the witness, but was refused.

“He stepped closer to the counter and again demanded money but was again refused.”

The fiscal said Ms Hillhouse “observed the knife by his side” but bravely stood up to him by refusing a further demand for cigarettes to be placed in the bag.

Mr Whyte added: “The accused was shaking and appeared uncomfortable with his actions.

“He walked backwards towards the front door and exited the locus.”

The worker then alerted police by pressing the store’s panic alarm and officers attended soon after.

The large kitchen knife “was recovered nearby” and following a tip off Inglis was identified and he was arrested at his home later that day.

Inglis pleaded guilty to assaulting Tracey Hillhouse, during the course of her employment, by entering the Nisa Loco shop with his face covered and demanded money and cigarettes and did attempt to rob her while in possession of a knife at Lochbridge Road, North Berwick, East Lothian, on March 5 last year.

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