Masked gun thug hands himself in after shop raid

CCTV picture shows raiders holding up Javed Iqbal
CCTV picture shows raiders holding up Javed Iqbal
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A ROBBER who took part in a terrifying gunpoint raid at a shop while wearing a horror film mask is behind bars – after confessing to police.

Aaron Benkahla held a realistic-looking pistol and wore a white plastic horror film mask when he staged the horrifying raid at Colinton Mains Convenience Store.

The 20-year-old’s accomplice, Mohammed Jabran, had previously been jailed for 34 months in October after being caught by detectives.

Benkahla was not captured and instead walked into St Leonard’s police station to admit he was the second man they were looking for.

Asked why he was there, he replied: “To hand myself in for what happened at the shop at Colinton Mains. The robbery there.” He added: “I was involved and I wanted to get it off my chest and move on.”

During the heist, shopkeeper Javed Iqbal, 45, managed to activate a personal alarm and struggled with Jabran, tearing off his creepy disguise.

Mr Iqbal recognised him as a regular customer who had carried out decorating work in his home. Four days later police caught up with Jabran, 21.

Benkahla appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday and admitted assault and robbery on June 2 last year. Lord Turnbull called for background reports before sentencing Benkahla next month and remanded him in custody, at his own request.

Advocate depute Susanne Tanner told the court that a fingerprint found on a white mask in the shop in Colinton Mains Drive matched Benkahla’s. The prosecutor said three masks and two pairs of gloves were bought from a city centre joke shop on June 1 last year.

The following day, Mr Iqbal saw two masked men come into his shop at 6.30pm before pushing a customer out of the way as they headed for the till.

As Benkahla pointed his handgun at Mr Iqbal, he said: “Hurry up and open the till or I will shoot you. I will kill you.”

Jabran emptied cash and packs of cigarettes into a plastic bag while Benkahla pointed the weapon at a female customer.

The robbers ran into woods, where police later found the handgun. Ms Tanner said it was a “soft air pistol” designed to fire plastic ball bearings, but was not in working order.

The court heard yesterday Mr Iqbal has been prescribed sleeping pills and his doctor has told him it could take years to get over the incident.