Methil man admits botched bookie raid

The man has yet to be identified
The man has yet to be identified

A gun-wielding Methil robber abandoned a bid to rob a bookmaker after an employee ripped up his demand note and challenged the raider to shoot him.

Barry Shepherd went into the premises and wrote on a betting slip: “Be quiet. Fill the bag with cash or I will shoot you in the face. Chop chop!!”

He passed it to Peter Morris, who was working alone at the time in Scotbet in Edinburgh’s Ferry Road, and put a bag on the counter.

But the High Court in Edinburgh heard today (Thursday) that Mr Morris read the threatening demand and tore it up.

Shepherd (40) then pulled out a handgun but his victim believed it to be an imitation.

Advocate depute Ross Macfarlane said: “Mr Morris challenged Shepherd to shoot him, but the accused exited the premises, leaving the note and paper bag on the counter.”

Shepherd’s abortive raid came the day after police released CCTV images to the media of a successful robbery he had earlier carried out at a 24-hour garage.

Shepherd got away with £400 after staging an assault and robbery at a BP filling station in Ferry Road on January 18 this year, nine days before he tried to hold up Mr Morris.

Mr Macfarlane said police received information that the man in the CCTV images was Shepherd and, when they traced a landlady at an address where he had lived, she said he had shown her a bright blue, metal-looking ball bearing pistol.

Shepherd told her he had used it to shoot at mice in a flat and had fired the gun, which she described as “fast and loud”. She had held the gun and said it was heavy and realistic.

Police found a number of ball bearings in the flat but the weapon was never recovered.

Shepherd, a former chef, of Keir Hardie Street, admitting pointing an imitation gun at employee Dilwerjit Singh at the filling station, threatening violence, demanding money and robbing him of cash.

He also pled guilty when he appeared in court to attempting to rob Mr Morris by making threats of violence, demanding money an pointing an imitation gun at him.

Mr Macfarlane said Shepherd had pulled out the gun and pointed it at Mr Singh during the first raid and told him: “Just give me the money or I’ll shoot.”

Police looking for the robber had later gone to a girlfriend’s flat in Edinburgh but were told he had not lived there for several months.

She said Shepherd had admitted he was responsible for the robberies and, on the night of the first raid, he had come to her address afterwards and sat on a wall crying.

He had said was going to go and visit family in Fife and then he would hand himself in to police. Shepherd turned up at Levenmouth police station on February 12, saying he knew the police were looking for him.

He was asked to give a handwriting sample but declined to do so, the court heard.

Lady Scott deferred sentence on Shepherd for the preparation of a background report. The judge refused to continue his bail and remanded him in custody ahead of sentencing.