A masked mugger lay in wait by an Ellon cash machine for an hour before violently attacking a 73-year-old pensioner and snatching £500.
Andrew Hamilton lurked around The Square in the Aberdeenshire town as he tried to “build up the courage” to rob someone.
And when the elderly man got out of a car and headed to the ATM, Hamilton, 42, struck.
Hamilton snatched the then 73-year-old’s bank card before punching him in the head and taking his money as well.
As the pensioner lay stunned on the ground, a member of the public managed to chase down the mugger and restrained him until the police arrived.
Mugger his face with snood
Fiscal depute Jane Spark told Aberdeen Sheriff Court the incident happened around 10am on February 16.
She said: “As the complainer attended at the ATM, the accused was observed to be sitting on a wall nearer the entrance of the bank with a snood over his face.
“As the complainer entered his PIN and requested to withdraw £500, he became aware of the accused standing next to him.”
When the machine returned his card and cash, Hamilton reached over and grabbed the card.
The pensioner, who is now 74, did not give up without a fight and a struggle ensued as he tried to retrieve his bank card.
Ms Spark went on: “The accused punched him with a clenched right fist to the left side of his temple causing immediate pain and shock.
Good Samaritan tripped fleeing robber
“The accused managed to snatch the card back, reached over and grabbed the £500 cash.”
On seeing the punch thrown, a member of the public approached and pushed Hamilton away.
Stuffing bank notes in his pockets, Hamilton started to flee as the stricken pensioner shouted after him.
The witness then gave chase and caught up with Hamilton near the New Inn Hotel, shouting at him to return the money.
The man managed to trip the robber up and Hamilton handed over £160, claiming it was all he had.
Further witnesses called the police and, when officers arrived, they found the other £340 in Hamilton’s trouser pocket.
The bank card was found nearby.
In interview, Hamilton initially provided “no comment” responses but later gave a full account.
Jail decision reached ‘without much difficulty’
Ms Spark told the court: “He stated that he had attended the locus about an hour prior to the incident trying to build up the courage to take money from someone.
“He saw the complainer attend in his car and approach the ATM.
“He stated that he grabbed money from the complainer however denied punching him.”
In court, Hamilton pled guilty to assault and robbery.
Defence agent John Hardie said: “The first thing to say is he is properly ashamed of his conduct on February 16.”
He said Hamilton had committed the offence, for which he apologised, in a bid to fund his drug use.
The solicitor said: “His life has been blighted by drug abuse and this offence represents the very lowest point.”
Mr Hardie added that Hamilton had now managed to remain abstinent from drugs for a lengthy spell.
Sheriff Graham Buchanan told Hamilton: “It appears, from what you said, you waited at the scene for some time before selecting a particular victim who happened to be 73 years of age.
“You then punched him in the head which, according to the victim impact statement, caused him pain for a couple of weeks and it’s plain he and his wife have been seriously affected psychologically by what took place that day.”
Sheriff Buchanan said he reached the decision that prison was the only option “without much difficulty”.
He ordered Hamilton, of Kildrummy Road, Ellon, to be caged for 22 months.
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