Unmasked bungling shop robber is jailed

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A BUNGLING thief who raided a shop where he was a regular customer while unmasked has been jailed.

Walter Moss was caught on camera grabbing an employee at the branch of Margiotta in Haymarket Terrace and putting a knife to his neck.

Judge Lord Uist said he had no option but to send the 27-year-old – who blamed a mounting overdraft for his actions – to jail for four years.

Moss, a prisoner of HMP Edinburgh, earlier admitted assaulting employee Samuel Hendry, 20, by seizing him and holding a knife to his neck, repeatedly demanding money and robbing him of £900 on January 27 this year.

Yesterday, the News told how West Lothian shopkeeper Akbar Ali thwarted a knife-wielding robber with a fold-up stool at his shop in Fauldhouse.

The Scottish Retail Consortium said attacks on store staff were common and had become “a huge problem”.

At Moss’ earlier hearing, prosecution lawyer Stephen O’Rourke said: “The shop was close to the accused’s then home address and he was known to those working in the shop.”

Defence solicitor advocate Andrew Houston added: “This offence was utterly lacking in sophistication. His face was not masked and he was known to the staff.”

He said that Moss had been receiving benefits but ran up an overdraft with his bank.

Mr Houston added: “While an overdraft of £400 to many people might not generate a great deal of anxiety, it certainly caused him some anxiety.”

The court heard how Mr Hendry, a student from Wick, Caithness, was mopping the floor in the shop while working with a teenage colleague.

Mr O’Rourke said: “Moss entered the shop in possession of a knife. He approached Mr Hendry from behind.”

After eventually being handed all the £20 notes from the till, Moss demanded more and was given the £10 notes.

He then walked out and turned in the direction of Coates Gardens, where he was living.

Police identified Moss after watching CCTV of the raid and soon found him. He told officers: “The money’s in my pocket.”

They found £505 on him and a further £350 was recovered from his bedroom.

Moss was described as a paranoid schizophrenic with previous convictions for assault, possessing a knife and fireraising.

Passing sentence, Lord Uist said: “There is a high risk of you reoffending. Consequently, a custodial sentence is the appropriate disposal.”