A masked robber who tied a door shut to prevent a witness leaving her home while his gang raided supermarkets has been allowed to walk free because of court delays caused by Covid-19.
Darryl Pollock was caught after police found his DNA on the rope he used to tie the door of the witness’s home, next to the shop being raided.
Sheriff Gillian Wade told Pollock he had benefited from repeated delays in the case due to the pandemic and was avoiding jail as a result.
She said: “You have been convicted of a very serious offence, but to an extent you have had the benefit of Covid, which resulted in deferral after deferral.
“Against what might have perhaps happened if you had been sentenced earlier on, you have been of good behaviour for a substantial period of time, so I am going to give you the benefit of a drug treatment and testing order (DTTO).
“Having made a degree of progress, it may be a retrograde step to send you to custody at this stage, but be in no doubt this offence certainly merits a custodial sentence.”
Pollock was placed on a DTTO for 18 months at Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday.
He was part of a professional gang which stole thousands of pounds worth of goods during two robberies in the space of an hour. He and the rest of the gang managed to steal more than £6,000 worth of items during a store break-in which lasted less than four minutes.
The Edinburgh-based gang then turned over a second Spar store less than an hour later and got away with a further £850 worth of cigarettes.
The trio used a stolen number plate, spray painted a CCTV camera and tied up a neighbour’s door with a rope to prevent them responding to the shop alarm.
However, bungling Pollock forgot to use gloves when he was handling the rope and detectives were able to identify his DNA.
They confirmed his involvement when they established he had used the stolen number plates on his own car.
Pollock, 36, of Ardshiel Avenue, Edinburgh, admitted stealing number plates from a car parked in Fern Place, Leuchars, on February 28 last year.
He admitted donning a mask and breaking into the Spar shops in Leuchars and Inchture, a short time later.
Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told the court: “The vehicle used was the accused’s but the stolen number plate was put on it, so ultimately it took a little longer to track down.
“CCTV was reviewed and he and two others were seen parking outside. They forced open the door and entered the shop wearing masks and gloves.
“They filled a one-tonne rubble sack with items from behind the till before leaving. They were in the shop less than four minutes and it would be fair to say it was a fairly organised job.”
She said alcohol, cigarettes and other items were taken with a value of £6,404. The gang then drove straight to Inchture to hit the second Spar branch.
She said: “They spray- painted over the CCTV camera. The accused was ultimately traced because the individual who lives above the shop found a rope had been tied around the front of the door which meant she couldn’t open it when she heard the alarm.
“The accused’s DNA was found on that rope, and because of that and inquiries into the getaway vehicle, the accused was traced.”