Watch Oxfordshire's worst robber as he bungles his raid... and is even unable to escape properly

Herald Series: The robbery seems to be going to plan... The robbery seems to be going to plan...

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.”

  • The editing of the video and production of the stills are subject to copyright by Newsquest Oxfordshire. No other commercial media company may reproduce or share this content without permission. 

Comments (18)

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1:04pm Wed 22 Aug 12

Oflife says...

I am stunned at how British people just let crims get away with it. I witnessed (and photographed!) a crime in progress in a UK town recently, and the staff did nothing. Same in a petrol station, where the robbers simply walked around putting food and drink in their bags before leaving. We're a cowardly nation, and that includes the police and PCOs who treat crims as victims, whilst more and more innocent young and elderly are attacked in their homes or on the streets. Crime is today just another profession, defended by 'human rights' laws. At least he got 3 years, if this was Oxford, it would have been 3 weeks and a clip around the ear.
I am stunned at how British people just let crims get away with it. I witnessed (and photographed!) a crime in progress in a UK town recently, and the staff did nothing. Same in a petrol station, where the robbers simply walked around putting food and drink in their bags before leaving. We're a cowardly nation, and that includes the police and PCOs who treat crims as victims, whilst more and more innocent young and elderly are attacked in their homes or on the streets. Crime is today just another profession, defended by 'human rights' laws. At least he got 3 years, if this was Oxford, it would have been 3 weeks and a clip around the ear. Oflife

5:42pm Wed 22 Aug 12

Captain J says...

Do you really expect shop workers on minimum wage to risk injury confronting criminals? They're not going to lose out if the crim gets away with a few hundred quid, so why should they feel responsible for stopping them?
Do you really expect shop workers on minimum wage to risk injury confronting criminals? They're not going to lose out if the crim gets away with a few hundred quid, so why should they feel responsible for stopping them? Captain J

8:10pm Wed 22 Aug 12

Robie says...

Stupid comment Oflife. The staff member has had a gun pointed in her face.
I wonder how you would feel if this happened to you?

Whilst you bravely photographed the crime taking place why did you not intervene yourself?
Stupid comment Oflife. The staff member has had a gun pointed in her face. I wonder how you would feel if this happened to you? Whilst you bravely photographed the crime taking place why did you not intervene yourself? Robie

10:22pm Wed 22 Aug 12

mrsutton says...

Oflife it was oxford ??!
Oflife it was oxford ??! mrsutton

10:59pm Wed 22 Aug 12

Myron Blatz says...

Despite the opinion of at least one TVP senior police officer, crime isn't on the decline - and robbery (with or without violence) more common than ever within our communities. Time politicians gave the Police and communities more support and backing to combat the unacceptable levels anti-social behaviour which have become all too-often commonplace.
Despite the opinion of at least one TVP senior police officer, crime isn't on the decline - and robbery (with or without violence) more common than ever within our communities. Time politicians gave the Police and communities more support and backing to combat the unacceptable levels anti-social behaviour which have become all too-often commonplace. Myron Blatz

9:57am Thu 23 Aug 12

AlexF says...

This wasn't actually Oxford, this was in Abingdon, it wasn't a gun, but it was something made to look like a gun.
Either way, this was still a despicable thing to do, even though they recognised him and to be honest, there was a point made above that if they're on minum wage, why should they have to risk anything, which is very true.

Also, what an idiot! He really should have stayed at home.
This wasn't actually Oxford, this was in Abingdon, it wasn't a gun, but it was something made to look like a gun. Either way, this was still a despicable thing to do, even though they recognised him and to be honest, there was a point made above that if they're on minum wage, why should they have to risk anything, which is very true. Also, what an idiot! He really should have stayed at home. AlexF

12:45pm Thu 23 Aug 12

adlibber says...

I think the US owned Oxford Mail does a neat job in focussing on cases like this and avoiding the real issues that will affect all of us which is the growing control freakery of right wing govts around the world using the media to divide nations by publishing small talk items like hapless robberies committed by desperate people. Crime will rise thanks to savage cuts in police numbers due to the reckless gambles of banks who control govts and force most of us to cover their mistakes. What has the Oxford Mail publish about the NHS sell off or the creeping privatisation of our schools? The crime of govts and media cause more far damage than the crime of an idiot taking money from a till. The man got jailed no one got hurt - how many bankers have been jailed and how many people have they hurt? As long as papers like OM keep inviting comments on lame strories like this (and it is the stuff of Beadle) the real crooks can work behind the scenes destroying our democracy and the lives of the poor.
I think the US owned Oxford Mail does a neat job in focussing on cases like this and avoiding the real issues that will affect all of us which is the growing control freakery of right wing govts around the world using the media to divide nations by publishing small talk items like hapless robberies committed by desperate people. Crime will rise thanks to savage cuts in police numbers due to the reckless gambles of banks who control govts and force most of us to cover their mistakes. What has the Oxford Mail publish about the NHS sell off or the creeping privatisation of our schools? The crime of govts and media cause more far damage than the crime of an idiot taking money from a till. The man got jailed no one got hurt - how many bankers have been jailed and how many people have they hurt? As long as papers like OM keep inviting comments on lame strories like this (and it is the stuff of Beadle) the real crooks can work behind the scenes destroying our democracy and the lives of the poor. adlibber

4:40pm Thu 23 Aug 12

mrsutton says...

Was Abingdon if it's not in Oxford???
Was Abingdon if it's not in Oxford??? mrsutton

4:41pm Thu 23 Aug 12

mrsutton says...

Where is Abingdon if it's not in Oxford?!!
Where is Abingdon if it's not in Oxford?!! mrsutton

6:31pm Thu 23 Aug 12

King Joke says...

Mr Sutton, may I draw your attention to a map? Abingdon is not in Oxford. It is not covered by Oxford City Council, neither does it fall in the Oxford postal area OX1-OX4.

It is in the adminsitrative county of Oxfordshire, but that is a different thing from being in Oxford.
Mr Sutton, may I draw your attention to a map? Abingdon is not in Oxford. It is not covered by Oxford City Council, neither does it fall in the Oxford postal area OX1-OX4. It is in the adminsitrative county of Oxfordshire, but that is a different thing from being in Oxford. King Joke

2:32pm Fri 24 Aug 12

Laco says...

No Abingdon is not in Oxford, it is in Oxfordshire.
HOWEVER, that makes absolutely no difference whatsoever as he was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court. If it HAD happened in Oxford, he would also have been sentenced in Oxford Crown Court.
Silly argument about nothing.....
No Abingdon is not in Oxford, it is in Oxfordshire. HOWEVER, that makes absolutely no difference whatsoever as he was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court. If it HAD happened in Oxford, he would also have been sentenced in Oxford Crown Court. Silly argument about nothing..... Laco

2:35pm Fri 24 Aug 12

King Joke says...

Good point adlibber makes though... also applies to 'news' stories about Army officers getting drunk and naked on holiday.
Good point adlibber makes though... also applies to 'news' stories about Army officers getting drunk and naked on holiday. King Joke

3:24pm Fri 24 Aug 12

livid99 says...

Oflife wrote:
I am stunned at how British people just let crims get away with it. I witnessed (and photographed!) a crime in progress in a UK town recently, and the staff did nothing. Same in a petrol station, where the robbers simply walked around putting food and drink in their bags before leaving. We're a cowardly nation, and that includes the police and PCOs who treat crims as victims, whilst more and more innocent young and elderly are attacked in their homes or on the streets. Crime is today just another profession, defended by 'human rights' laws. At least he got 3 years, if this was Oxford, it would have been 3 weeks and a clip around the ear.
Did you attempt to stop the crime which you witnessed, or did you just take a photo ??
[quote][p][bold]Oflife[/bold] wrote: I am stunned at how British people just let crims get away with it. I witnessed (and photographed!) a crime in progress in a UK town recently, and the staff did nothing. Same in a petrol station, where the robbers simply walked around putting food and drink in their bags before leaving. We're a cowardly nation, and that includes the police and PCOs who treat crims as victims, whilst more and more innocent young and elderly are attacked in their homes or on the streets. Crime is today just another profession, defended by 'human rights' laws. At least he got 3 years, if this was Oxford, it would have been 3 weeks and a clip around the ear.[/p][/quote]Did you attempt to stop the crime which you witnessed, or did you just take a photo ?? livid99

6:28am Sun 26 Aug 12

Atomic1 says...

adlibber wrote:
I think the US owned Oxford Mail does a neat job in focussing on cases like this and avoiding the real issues that will affect all of us which is the growing control freakery of right wing govts around the world using the media to divide nations by publishing small talk items like hapless robberies committed by desperate people. Crime will rise thanks to savage cuts in police numbers due to the reckless gambles of banks who control govts and force most of us to cover their mistakes. What has the Oxford Mail publish about the NHS sell off or the creeping privatisation of our schools? The crime of govts and media cause more far damage than the crime of an idiot taking money from a till. The man got jailed no one got hurt - how many bankers have been jailed and how many people have they hurt? As long as papers like OM keep inviting comments on lame strories like this (and it is the stuff of Beadle) the real crooks can work behind the scenes destroying our democracy and the lives of the poor.
"Crime will rise thanks to savage cuts in police numbers" load of rubbish.
Should have been at the kassam yesterday most of the TVP were on a jolly.
Another trouble free fixture enjoyed by lots of families, just like other games without TVP presence.
I think you will find simply they are over manned.
[quote][p][bold]adlibber[/bold] wrote: I think the US owned Oxford Mail does a neat job in focussing on cases like this and avoiding the real issues that will affect all of us which is the growing control freakery of right wing govts around the world using the media to divide nations by publishing small talk items like hapless robberies committed by desperate people. Crime will rise thanks to savage cuts in police numbers due to the reckless gambles of banks who control govts and force most of us to cover their mistakes. What has the Oxford Mail publish about the NHS sell off or the creeping privatisation of our schools? The crime of govts and media cause more far damage than the crime of an idiot taking money from a till. The man got jailed no one got hurt - how many bankers have been jailed and how many people have they hurt? As long as papers like OM keep inviting comments on lame strories like this (and it is the stuff of Beadle) the real crooks can work behind the scenes destroying our democracy and the lives of the poor.[/p][/quote]"Crime will rise thanks to savage cuts in police numbers" load of rubbish. Should have been at the kassam yesterday most of the TVP were on a jolly. Another trouble free fixture enjoyed by lots of families, just like other games without TVP presence. I think you will find simply they are over manned. Atomic1

2:41pm Mon 27 Aug 12

Lord Palmerstone says...

Hey adlibber,bet you'll be at the JR in September when the child of brutal mass murderer Guevara once again tells the world how wonderful her father was.In fact, why are you even still in this country , oppressed bya tiny handful of fat men in frock coats, when you could be in the Workers' Paradise of, say, North Korea?
Go now, before the wicked US steals all the wealth of that Great Republic.
Hey adlibber,bet you'll be at the JR in September when the child of brutal mass murderer Guevara once again tells the world how wonderful her father was.In fact, why are you even still in this country , oppressed bya tiny handful of fat men in frock coats, when you could be in the Workers' Paradise of, say, North Korea? Go now, before the wicked US steals all the wealth of that Great Republic. Lord Palmerstone

11:39am Tue 28 Aug 12

EMBOX1 says...

I went to school with James Allan, and it is a real shame what he has become. I make no excuses, he is a right idiot for doing what he does.

He was a nice lad at school, fun, fairly hardworking but went off the rails when he started smoking weed, and then went on to harder drugs.

His parents couldn't steer him away, and even his neighbours and other people tried to help.

It is a real shame and I only hope he wakes up and realises what he's become, else the next report we'll see is he's been found dead somewhere.

A real tragedy for himself and society.
I went to school with James Allan, and it is a real shame what he has become. I make no excuses, he is a right idiot for doing what he does. He was a nice lad at school, fun, fairly hardworking but went off the rails when he started smoking weed, and then went on to harder drugs. His parents couldn't steer him away, and even his neighbours and other people tried to help. It is a real shame and I only hope he wakes up and realises what he's become, else the next report we'll see is he's been found dead somewhere. A real tragedy for himself and society. EMBOX1

2:55pm Tue 28 Aug 12

Lady Penelopee says...

EMBOX1 wrote:
I went to school with James Allan, and it is a real shame what he has become. I make no excuses, he is a right idiot for doing what he does.

He was a nice lad at school, fun, fairly hardworking but went off the rails when he started smoking weed, and then went on to harder drugs.

His parents couldn't steer him away, and even his neighbours and other people tried to help.

It is a real shame and I only hope he wakes up and realises what he's become, else the next report we'll see is he's been found dead somewhere.

A real tragedy for himself and society.
Cannabis may be a harmless drug, but it's when it leads to harder drugs that the damage is done.

Even after prison, I bet he'll still owe money, and may be forced to go back to crime to pay for his ex-habit debts.

It's the dealers they need to come down hard on.
[quote][p][bold]EMBOX1[/bold] wrote: I went to school with James Allan, and it is a real shame what he has become. I make no excuses, he is a right idiot for doing what he does. He was a nice lad at school, fun, fairly hardworking but went off the rails when he started smoking weed, and then went on to harder drugs. His parents couldn't steer him away, and even his neighbours and other people tried to help. It is a real shame and I only hope he wakes up and realises what he's become, else the next report we'll see is he's been found dead somewhere. A real tragedy for himself and society.[/p][/quote]Cannabis may be a harmless drug, but it's when it leads to harder drugs that the damage is done. Even after prison, I bet he'll still owe money, and may be forced to go back to crime to pay for his ex-habit debts. It's the dealers they need to come down hard on. Lady Penelopee

10:48am Wed 29 Aug 12

King Joke says...

Lady Penelopee wrote:
EMBOX1 wrote: I went to school with James Allan, and it is a real shame what he has become. I make no excuses, he is a right idiot for doing what he does. He was a nice lad at school, fun, fairly hardworking but went off the rails when he started smoking weed, and then went on to harder drugs. His parents couldn't steer him away, and even his neighbours and other people tried to help. It is a real shame and I only hope he wakes up and realises what he's become, else the next report we'll see is he's been found dead somewhere. A real tragedy for himself and society.
Cannabis may be a harmless drug, but it's when it leads to harder drugs that the damage is done. Even after prison, I bet he'll still owe money, and may be forced to go back to crime to pay for his ex-habit debts. It's the dealers they need to come down hard on.
Or better still, take supply out of the hands of dealers, and into the hands of the medical profession, for registered users, alongside cessation treatment. It's very entertaining for some to laugh at this bloke but he's trapped in a situation that he'll still be in when he gets out.

That's the situation and funnily enough it has nothing to do with Che Guevara or North Korea.
[quote][p][bold]Lady Penelopee[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]EMBOX1[/bold] wrote: I went to school with James Allan, and it is a real shame what he has become. I make no excuses, he is a right idiot for doing what he does. He was a nice lad at school, fun, fairly hardworking but went off the rails when he started smoking weed, and then went on to harder drugs. His parents couldn't steer him away, and even his neighbours and other people tried to help. It is a real shame and I only hope he wakes up and realises what he's become, else the next report we'll see is he's been found dead somewhere. A real tragedy for himself and society.[/p][/quote]Cannabis may be a harmless drug, but it's when it leads to harder drugs that the damage is done. Even after prison, I bet he'll still owe money, and may be forced to go back to crime to pay for his ex-habit debts. It's the dealers they need to come down hard on.[/p][/quote]Or better still, take supply out of the hands of dealers, and into the hands of the medical profession, for registered users, alongside cessation treatment. It's very entertaining for some to laugh at this bloke [and let useless bankers and devious corporations get away with gambling and tax avoidance/evasion] but he's trapped in a situation that he'll still be in when he gets out. That's the situation and funnily enough it has nothing to do with Che Guevara or North Korea. King Joke

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