GUILTY PLEA TO STRONE POST OFFICE ROBBERY
Last Updated on Friday, 16 March 2012 13:50 Written by Gordon Neish Friday, 16 March 2012 12:11
|< Prev||Next >|
A Kirn man is behind bars today (Friday) after pleading guilty to robbing a Cowal post office in 2010.
Dunoon Sheriff Court was crowded this morning as potential jurors waited to hear if they were required for service.
They saw two men appear in the dock, Alfred McArthur and James Johnston, and heard McArthur enter a plea of not guilty and Johnston pleading guilty to robbing Strone Post Offive on November 23, 2010.
The pleas were accepted by procurator fiscal David Webster and McArthur was free to go.
Mr Webster told the court that two woud-be robbers took a bus to their target. The hooded men boarded an early Blairmore-bound service bus and got off at Shore Road Post Office just before the robbery took place. The bus driver remembered them because it was a quiet journey and the men were not regular passengers.
The 63-year-old postmaster opened the shop and was immediately aware of two men running into the shop behind him. Both had hoods over their heads and scarves covering the lower part of their faces.
One man pulled the postmaster to the floor and, when he attempted to get up again, the other punched him to the ground while the first grabbed the keys to the building.
By the time the victim got up he saw the two men running from the post office. He checked the safe and found £6,900 had been taken.
Men of a similar description were seen making their way to a forest area near Strone, one carrying a dark rucksack.
A large number of police vehicles attended after the postmaster called the force, and a search of the area uncovered, hidden in a cul-de-sac, black boiler suits, black jackets, black balaclavas and two pairs of black gloves.
The items were sent for forensic analysis and were found to contain DNA samples on a jacket and a pair of gloves which were a match for Johnston.
A road block was set up at the junction of the Strone road and the A815. A car in which Johnston was a passenger was stopped but, as there was no connection between Johnston and the crime at that time, he was allowed to go.
£2,270 was later recovered in a Kirn house occupied by a relative of Johnston.
Defending, Drew McKenzie QC appealed for bail for Johnston (25) on the grounds that he was a qualified chef and had been in continuous employment since he left school, has lived at 30 Sanderson Drive in Kirn for two years, and that he had attended court on every occasion he was asked to.
However, Sheriff Ward refused bail, remanding Johnston in custody while a social work report is prepared.
The robber will be sentenced on April 12.
The jurors were not required...