Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hi, it's me your son now, stick 'em up

I guess they thought that they wouldn't be identified?

Sheesh! talk about dumb.

Bungling robbers jailed for 'comic' raid on own family's post office

TWO "incompetent" robbers who ambushed a Royal Mail cash delivery at a post office owned by their own family were jailed for a total of seven and a half years today.

Cousins George Thomson, 25 – whose father owned the shop in Tranent, East Lothian where his mother was post mistress – and Roche Thomson, 20, were described in court as "comic". But their £20,000 haul of Sterling and Euro banknotes has not been traced and the security man who was carrying the cash was threatened with a chisel.

Advocate deputy Simon Collins, prosecuting, told the High Court in Edinburgh: "George Thomson became aware of when large amounts of money were being delivered, although there is no suggestion information was being deliberately passed on to the accused."

George Thomson hoped that security man Stephen McCondochie, 45, would be bringing £80,000 with him last July 24, the court heard.Cousin Roche jumped at the chance to take part in the raid because he was being threatened by drug barons in London over a huge debt.

Their plan started to unravel when a long-time resident of the town watched the two pull on balaclava masks and said later: "This was crazy – even by Tranent standards."The court heard how Mr McCondochie parked his van in the town's High Street at about 9am and walked across the road with a bag of coins. He came back and picked up a case containing £13,100 and 10,000 Euros – valued at about £6,700.As he reached the post office door for a second time he was attacked."Roche, wearing a balaclava to mask his face, grabbed the cash case from behind," said Mr Collins."Mr McCondochie turned round to see what was happening. Roche pulled a chisel from his pocket and brandished it at Mr McCondochie."

The security man ran back to his van and pressed a panic button to alert police. Roche Thomson ran through Tranent's Civic Square to nearby Ross High School and passed the cash case to his cousin.George disappeared over a wall and Roche ran in the opposite direction towards a public park.When police arrived on the scene they were told George had been seen acting suspiciously earlier that morning. They also had video footage from a CCTV camera overlooking the area.Roche was arrested later that day when police stopped a blue Volkswagen and found him trying to hide in the back.

He eventually confessed: "It was just a stupid thing to do" and told police: "I hope the money is still there when I get out." His cousin was arrested in London five days later.At an earlier hearing, George, of no fixed address, and Roche, of Wiltshire Gardens, London, halted a planned trial by admitting the robbery. Roche alone admitted brandishing the chisel.Mr Collins said armed robbery was a very serious matter. "I do not wish to make light of it but the circumstances might be thought almost comic, given the incompetent manner in which it was committed."

To rob one's relative's post office in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses in a small town like Tranent where everyone knew or recognised him almost beggars belief."Today, solicitor advocate John Keenan, for George Thomson, said:

"He very much regrets his involvement in this, because of the family connection." Solicitor advocate Ray McMenamin, defending Roche Thomson, told how he had tried to get involved in the London drug scene – but a consignment of drugs he was looking after went missing.Roche was abducted, assaulted, and "threatened in no uncertain terms" said the lawyer. He particularly feared for the safety of him mum and sister."When the idea was first suggested of carrying out this robbery he readily seized on it as a solution to his financial difficulties and all that had gone wrong with his life in London."

The court heard that Mr McCondochie was off work for two days because of his fright but suffered no injury.Judge Lord Brailsford jailed each of the cousins for three years and nine months because Roche brandished the chisel but George had a worse record of previous convictions.