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Caithness cashier sees off 'loo roll' bandit

By Staff Reporter

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A MASKED man meant business when he strode into a Wick shop with a knife one night, the county’s sheriff heard this week.

The man – his hooded head seemingly wrapped in toilet paper, which also may have muffled his voice – produced a rucksack and boldly ordered the counter assistant: “Empty the cash register!”

However, plucky Evelyn Farquhar, despite being alone in the shop, called the would-be robber’s bluff and despite being told he had a knife replied: “I don’t think so.”

On Wednesday, she was commended by Sheriff Andrew Berry.

The unwelcome customer had turned on his heel and left the shop – empty-handed – and far from being a seasoned criminal he was aged only 15 at the time.

Despite the disguise, police officers were able to identify him after reviewing the shop’s CCTV footage.

The boy, now 16, who cannot be named as he is under 18, admitted attempting to rob Malcolm’s newsagent in the town’s Kinnaird Street.

Malcolm's newsagent on Wick's Kinnaird Street
Malcolm's newsagent on Wick's Kinnaird Street

Fiscal David Barclay said the accused entered the shop around 6.30pm on September 4.

“The hood of his jacket was pulled over his head, which was wrapped in what appeared to be toilet roll, and part of his jacket obscured the lower half of his face,” the fiscal said.

“He approached the counter and was calmly told by Ms Farquhar to unzip his jacket and take off his hood while in the shop. The accused made a muffled reply and when she listened more intently, heard something to the effect: ‘I have a knife... empty the cash register!’ She observed the knife, partly obscured in his right hand.”

After his demand was rejected, the youth abandoned his bid and fled.

Mr Barclay said: “Police officers who were given a description and saw the shop’s CCTV footage knew right away who it was, in terms of how the accused presented himself and some distinctive markings on his clothing, which was subsequently recovered from the accused’s house.”

Sheriff Berry told the accused he had pleaded guilty to “a very serious matter”.

“You went into a shop with a knife and demanded money. To say the least, it must have been a very unpleasant experience for Ms Farquhar. She simply says – ‘I don’t think so.’ All credit to her amid what would have been a very difficult atmosphere.”

Sentence was deferred for a background report until May 2 and the sheriff also requested a report from The Children’s Panel.

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