A teenager who carried out a terrifying robbery at an Aberdeen petrol station after tying up a member of staff and threatening him with a baseball bat today avoided being locked up.
Darren McWilliam, 19, looted the Shell petrol station in Wellington Road of cash and cigarettes after turning up armed with the weapon on October 12 last year.
McWilliam, who carried out another armed raid while on bail for this one, was placed on a tag for eight months, and is subject to a curfew.
McWilliam was also ordered to perform 220 hours unpaid work and attend courses in anger management and substance abuse.
At the High Court in Glasgow judge Lord Fairley said that in 99 out of 100 cases he would have imposed a custodial sentence.
Lord Fairley told McWilliam: “You have pleaded guilty to two charges of assault and robbery. Both were of shopkeepers late at night using weapons to threaten them.
“This must have been a terrifying experience for your victims, but you did not use the weapons to inflict any actual violence to anyone.
“You apppear to have difficulty controlling impulsive behaviour. This is an issue you must address or you will continue to come before the courts and spend a great deal of your life in prison.
“Your criminal record in disturbing. Your first offence was at 16 for assault and robbery. I am trying to find a solution that is in your best interests.
“This is to try to stop you breaking the law and keep you out of prison. The benefits to you and to society are obvious.”
The court heard that McWilliam raided the Shell petrol station in Wellington Road, Aberdeen, just before midnight on October 12, last year.
Armed with a baseball bat and claiming he had a gun in his pocket McWilliam tied up the worker before fleeing with cash and cigarettes.
He struck again as staff were closing up McColls on Gardner Drive in the Kincorth area of Aberdeen on March 23. Again he made off with cash and cigarettes.
Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC referring to the first robbery said: “The accused brandished the baseball bat and stated: ” If you do something, you’ll get hurt. I’ve a gun in my pocket’.”
McWilliam then tightened the cable ties before grabbing cash from the tills and filling bags with cigarettes. He then fled. He was snared when his DNA was found on one of the ties.
Cigarettes worth more than £2,600 along with £110.
Police later recovered a balaclava from McWilliam’s flat in West North Street, in Aberdeen.
Mr Prentice said the petrol station worker “was shocked by what happened. He stated that he was panicking as he was worried about his family if something happened to him”.
McWilliam struck again at McColl’s on March 23.
The deputy store manager was pulling down the shutter when McWilliam appeared holding a knife.
The teenager, who was wearing latex gloves, demanded to be taken to the safe.
He forced staff to open the safe and held out a bag for the money to be put in.
McWilliam zipped up his bag and left the store after saying: “Sorry about this guys.”
He made off with £2,665 in cash from the safe and cigarettes valued at £842.
McWillian, who has spent four months in Polmont young Offenders’ Institution, appeared in court via a video link.
It is believed he will be given a travel voucher to allow him to return to Aberdeen and once there will be housed and tagged.