A FOOLPROOF disguise and a meticulously planned getaway would rate highly on any armed robber’s to-do list.
But such thoughts were clearly a long way from the mind of bungling raider James Allan.
Allan’s catalogue of errors began when he selected Martin’s newsagent in Abingdon’s Northcourt Road as his target.
Today we can show how his raid descended into farce.
Not only did staff know him as a regular customer, he had also robbed the place 10 days before this comically-bad attempt on March 2.
Things went from bad to worse when Allan, clutching a toy gun and £134.98 taken from the till, inexplicably whipped off his balaclava in full view of the cameras before failing to grasp the concept of a one-way door.
"Clearly Allan’s actions show that he isn’t cut out for a career in crime"DCI Mark Johns
Frustrated at the door’s inability to yield as he pushed instead of pulled, Allan kicked out at a glass panel and toppled backwards, sending a display of drinks bottles skidding across the floor.
The 28-year-old was eventually let out of the shop by manager Angela Croke. But Allan was picked up by police on the same road three hours later with the balaclava stuffed in his pocket.
He burst into tears when put in the back of the patrol car and told officers: “I’m sorry, it’s not fair on them – are they all right?”.
Allan was jailed for three years for this offence last month but new details can only now be released after he was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday for the earlier raid on the shop.
The first robbery took place just before 6pm on February 23, when supervisor Leanne Coe Coxon was preparing to close the store.
This time wearing a balaclava for the entirety of the robbery, Allan repeatedly shouted “give me the money” while “holding an object in a green case as if it were a gun”, the judge heard.
Although the supervisor did not believe it was a gun, Allan forced her to hand over £360.
David Rhodes, defending, said his client was a hard-working dental nurse until three years ago when his fiancee left him and he turned to Class A drugs.
He said Allan, of no fixed address, had been pressured into committing the robberies by drug dealers to whom he owed money.
He added: “He is now clean of drugs and is beginning to rebuild his life.”
Judge Gordon Risius did not extend Allan’s existing three-year sentence.
Last night Det Ch Insp Mark Johns said: “Clearly Allan’s actions show that he isn’t cut out for a career in crime, due to the way in which he was apprehended. He now has time to think about these actions while serving his sentence in prison.”
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