A fearless Fife shopkeeper turned the tables on a would-be thief by wrestling a handgun from him and marching him on to the street.
Kieran Pearson’s bungled robbery attempt ended in humiliation as the store’s owner, Zaheer Uddin Babar, wrestled the imitation handgun from him.
The 28-year-old escaped and police later discovered the gun was fake but found other items in Pearson’s home implicating him in the attempted robbery.
Advocate depute Jane Farquharson QC told the High Court in Edinburgh on Wednesday Pearson was still on licence from a 2014 conviction for assault and robbery at the time he targeted Mr Babar’s store.
She said Mr Babar and two employees were in the Townhill Road shop on August 15.
Pearson entered at 7.25am, wearing a blue boiler suit, black, snood and gloves.
Mr Babar saw Pearson within a store cupboard near the shop entrance.
Ms Farquharson said: “On realising he was being watched, the accused Pearson presented what looked like a black handgun.
“He pointed this at Mr Babar and demanded he sit down. He said this twice.
“Ignoring these demands Mr Babar approached the accused and grabbed what he thought was a handgun from him.
“He then instructed the accused Pearson to put his hands up and accompany him outside the shop.”
Simpering Pearson said he was scared Mr Babar would hit him and asked him to retrieve a bag he had left inside.
He fled when Mr Babar went to retrieve it.
Police established the weapon was an airsoft pistol designed to fire ball bearings and not functional.
The boiler suit was found during a later search of Pearson’s home.
Several months after the attempted robbery, on December 21, Pearson was involved in another, with co-accused Craig Pritchard.
This time the pair targeted a petrol station on Bothwell Street in Dunfermline.
The shopkeeper, Yedduri Sudheer, was trapped inside with the pair as they tried to force open the till.
After being threatened with a knife and a claw hammer, he was able to flee into the street, where he flagged down a passing car.
Ms Anderson said: “At about 4.40am Mr Sudheer was about to leave the Londis shop via its rear door with the intention of putting some rubbish into a bin outside.
“On opening the door he noticed the accused Pritchard on the ground next to the door and in possession of a claw hammer.
“Mr Sudheer realised he was attempting to force open the door.
“He retreated back inside and locked the rear door, leaving the accused Pritchard outside.
“As he walked back into the shop he found the accused Pearson behind the counter attempting to open the till.
‘We’re doing this for our family’
“Mr Sudheer saw the accused Pearson was in possession of a large black-handled kitchen knife, measuring approximately 20cm in length.
“He attempted to make his way to the front of the shop with a view to exiting but was prevented from doing so by the accused Pritchard, who had by now run around to the front and was blocking his exit.
“Accused Pritchard told him ‘You can’t leave’, whilst raising the hammer and demanding that the shopkeeper open the till.
“In fear of his personal safety, Mr Sudheer returned to the shop counter and joined the accused Pearson who was holding the knife towards him.
“He was reassured by the accused Pearson ‘We don’t want to hurt you. We are doing this for our family’.”
Mr Sudheer opened the till and fled, flagging down a passing car.
The pair made off with hundreds of pounds from the till, while Pearson filled his rucksack with tobacco.
Pearson admitted assaulting Mr Babar with the intent to rob him, assaulting Mr Sudheer and robbing him at the BP garage on the town’s Bothwell Street on December 21.
Craig Pritchard, 42, also pled guilty to the second of the charges.
Sentence was deferred on the pair, who are both currently being held at Perth prison, until next month for background reports to be obtained.