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Shop knife hold-up accused left a fingerprint at scene, court told

By Alan Erwin

Published 16/08/2016

An alleged convenience store robber's fingerprint was discovered on a light bulb box knocked over and replaced by the drunken raider, the High Court has heard
An alleged convenience store robber's fingerprint was discovered on a light bulb box knocked over and replaced by the drunken raider, the High Court has heard

An alleged convenience store robber's fingerprint was discovered on a light bulb box knocked over and replaced by the drunken raider, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors said the accused, Thomas Robin, was stopped with nearly £1,000 stuffed down his sock within minutes of the hold-up near his south Belfast home.

It was also disclosed that police are now investigating three similar robberies carried out a day earlier.

Details emerged as 23-year-old Robin was refused bail due to the high risk of reoffending.

The accused, of Raby Street in the city, faces charges of robbery and also of possession of an offensive weapon in relation to the raid at Vivo on the Ormeau Road in Belfast on April 1.

A previous court hearing was told how a hooded man had approached staff at the shop counter, brandishing a six-inch-long knife and demanded: "Open the f****** till."

The robber, described as being unsteady on his feet, made off from the store with £975 in cash.

Robin was said to have been detained riding a bicycle 10 minutes later in a nearby location, and with a similar amount of cash stuffed inside one of his socks.

He claimed to have just had some wins at the bookies.

Opposing Robin's renewed bid to get out of custody, prosecution counsel Philip Henry yesterday claimed the accused is linked by fingerprint evidence to the crime.

"An item was touched by the offender as he was making his way to the till," the barrister told the court hearing.

"It was knocked off a shelf and then replaced, (while being) observed by staff," he added.

Mr Henry went on to reveal that detectives believe a similar modus operandi featured on three other robberies the previous day.

"The perpetrator of this robbery was described as intoxicated and used a knife, the others under investigation also involved a knife," he told the court.

Robin has not been charged with or questioned about any other incident, it was added.

Defence barrister Richard McConkey said his client regularly shopped for groceries in the store and could have touched the box when he was seeking lighting for his new home. Mr McConkey argued that bail should be granted to his client due to delays in progression of the case.

But denying the bail application, Mr Justice Deeny yesterday ruled: "The prosecution is right to say there's a real risk of reoffending."

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