A taxi driver who was abducted and forced to rob a Kirkcaldy bank last week was held up at knifepoint more than a decade ago, it has emerged.
Alistair Rankin, 46, from Cowdenbeath, was praised for his actions by police following last Wednesday’s incident at the Bank of Scotland in Mitchelston Industrial Estate, where the cabbie was ordered to go into the bank and commit a raid.
He told officers he had been handed a holdall, which he was led to believe contained an explosive device, and ordered to hand over a note to staff, although police later said that the alarm was raised as a “direct result” of Mr Rankin’s actions in the bank.
The Courier has learned that Mr Rankin was previously taken hostage in 2000 in an incident with shocking similarities to last week’s events.
It is understood that a teenager previously approached Mr Rankin in a supermarket car park and forced him to drive through Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly and other areas, and then ordered him to try to run over two police officers.
The man told Mr Rankin to take him up and down the street or he was going to slash his roof and, when Mr Rankin refused, he saw his car slashed on the driver side.
Mr Rankin was then forced to drive where the man wanted, and was later told to drive towards two police officers forcing them to jump out of the way.
After he managed to get out of the vehicle at a roadblock, Mr Rankin ran to the police shouting the man had a knife and his hijacker was taken into custody.
Police Scotland declined to comment on the revelations about the 2000 incident but confirmed that the man they believe to be behind last week’s robbery still remains at large.
Detective Inspector Charlie Duncan believes the suspect, who spoke with a distinctive eastern European accent, left the area immediately after the robbery and may have even used a taxi or public transport at around 2pm.
Police say the man was seen running along Carberry Place, which leads to the rear of the nearby Asda supermarket, and are trying to find out how he managed to flee the scene. They are also keen to find out how he got to The Avenue in Lochgelly, where he was initially picked up prior to the incident after someone made a request for a taxi.
Mr Duncan said: “I would ask anyone who believes they may have transported this male to come forward.”
The suspect is described as being white, 5ft 6in, of heavy build.
He was wearing a dark green baseball cap, a dark green scarf, a thick, dark blue jacket, tracksuit bottoms and sunglasses.