A sixteen-year-old boy attacked a pregnant woman during an attempted armed robbery at a Fife convenience store.
The young thug went to the Co-op branch in Burntisland town centre armed with a police-style metal baton, Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court was told.
He demanded money from staff, and then hit them with his baton when they told him there was no cash in the till.
The terrified employees were forced to flee to a nearby newsagents.
But the shopkeeper there used his body weight to keep the would-be robber outside, the court heard.
He held the door shut while the teenager battered his shutters with the baton.
‘Struck on the head’
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in court and admitted attacking and attempting to rob staff at the High Street store on August 30 last year.
He further admitted maliciously damaging the window at Jason’s Newsagents by repeatedly striking it with the baton, and to having an offensive weapon in the High Street.
Fiscal depute Laura McManus said the boy, who is from the Methil area, had turned up at the shop at 6.20am as employees Colin Dickson and Fay Kirby, who was pregnant at the time, were opening up.
She said: “Ms Kirby had keys to open the premises. She was opening the door and the accused appeared and said: ‘I want all the money out of your till’.
“He was brandishing a black metal pole.”
Ms McManus told the court: “Mr Dickson told him there was no money in the till. The accused struck him on the head with the pole. He said: ‘I don’t f***ing care, I want the money.
“Ms Kirby was struck on the arm with the pole. The accused continued to brandish the pole and swung it several times at Fay Kirby.”
Staff fled to safety
She said: “All three witnesses ran towards Jason’s Newsagents. The witnesses ran into the shop and said that they and been assaulted by the accused.”
The court heard that the teenager banged on the metal shutters five or six times, with enough force to crack a glass panel.
A panic alarm button inside the newsagent’s was pressed and police raced to the scene. They found the teenager on the town’s High Street with the baton measuring around 30cm.
He told them he had not hit anyone but had used the baton to scare the Co-Op staff.
Both Mr Dickson and Ms Kirby were taken to Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital due to their injuries.
Solicitor Kerr Sneddon, defending, said he recognised that the incident had been “very scary” for all involved.
He said: “It’s an absolutely abhorrent set of circumstances, and he does not shy away from those circumstances.
“Regretfully he cannot remember the minutiae due to ingesting substances.
“Thankfully there was no lasting damage to Fay Kirby.”
He said that the teenager did not have the most settled upbringing with his parents but hoped to start an apprenticeship in the near future.
Sheriff Christopher Shead told the teen that cases similar to his were often heard in the High Court.
He said: “This was absolutely outrageous conduct. It’s not long ago that the courts would have inevitably sent you to prison despite being so young.”
He said that court rulings on the treatment of young offenders meant he had to consider alternatives to imprisonment.
He placed the teenager on a two-year supervision order and ordered him to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work.