Knife thug forced to flee empty handed from North Berwick shop after shopkeeper refused to hand over money

A KNIFE thug who attempted to rob an East Lothian store was forced to flee empty handed after the brave shopkeeper refused to hand anything over.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 4:45 pm

Liam Inglis burst into the Loco shop in Lochbridge Road, North Berwick, while carrying a large kitchen knife and demanded cash and cigarettes.

But the masked robber was forced to leave empty handed after shopkeeper Tracey Hillhouse refused to give him anything.

Inglis ran from the store before dumping the blade and making his escape.

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The 20-year-old was soon identified and arrested by police officers following the incident on March 5 last year.

Inglis pleaded guilty to assaulting Ms Hillhouse during the course of her employment by entering the Loco shop with his face covered and demanding money and cigarettes, and attempting to rob her while in possession of a knife.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told on Friday that Inglis entered the shop at around 4.30pm to find Ms Hillhouse behind the counter and one male customer browsing the shelves.

CCTV played to the court showed Inglis, from Haddington, East Lothian, dressed all in black and wearing a snood to cover his face while also carrying a knife with a 20cm blade by his side.

Liam Inglis pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery

Fiscal depute 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 arrested at his home later that day.

Solicitor Christopher MacFarlane said his client was a first offender but would reserve his full mitigation to the sentencing hearing.

Sheriff Chris Dickson deferred sentence to next month for the preparation of reports.

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