A cheeky would-be thief who returned to a shop minutes after he tried to rob it at knifepoint was jailed for two years yesterday.
Father-of-two Jason Stewart had been chased off by Dalneigh Stores assistant Marjory Williamson who refused his demand for money. She then told him to get out and pressed the shop’s panic alarm.
But Inverness Sheriff Court heard yesterday that the assistant didn’t know that Stewart had a knife in his hand and it was only after CCTV was viewed it was discovered the 26-year-old had a weapon.
Half an hour after his unsuccessful robbery attempt, Stewart returned to the same shop without his mask and disguise.
However, defence solicitor Neil Wilson told Sheriff Margaret Neilson that his client’s crime “was doomed to failure” because it was his local shop and people had seen him hanging around at the time.
Stewart had moved to Dundee to live with his parents but returned to Inverness, which Mr Wilson described as a mistake because the only people he knew were drug users.
Stewart, who was described in court papers as a prisoner in Inverness, admitted a charge of assault and attempted robbery, which occurred on August 18 this year.
Fiscal depute Michelle Molley said the thief had entered the St Margaret’s Road store at 5pm wearing dark sunglasses, a baseball cap and a dark coloured scarf covering his nose, cheeks and mouth.
She added: “Marjory Williamson thought he was up to no good and kept an eye on him. She didn’t recognise him. He approached her, produced a plastic bag and said: ‘give it to me – the money.’
“She replied: ‘Get out of the shop’ and bent down to activate the store alarm. A neighbour saw the criminal whom he knew to be Stewart outside the shop before 5pm and spotted him returning wearing his disguise. The owners of the shop viewed the CCTV and were able to identify him as the man attempting to rob the store.
Ms Molley said: “Unknowingly, Ms Williamson served Stewart without his disguise half an hour after the robbery attempt.”
Jailing Stewart, who has previous convictions, Sheriff Neilson told him: “This offence is of such gravity that only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”