Belfast Telegraph

Knifeman tried to rob shop wearing a plastic bag to conceal his face ...but staff knew him as a regular customer


A bungling robber who tried to hide his identity with a plastic bag on his head has been barred from going anywhere near the shop he targeted in a failed armed raid.

A Crown Court judge imposed a five-year restraining order banning the man from going within 50 metres of the premises he tried to rob in Limavady.

Kevin Clarence (20) from Glenview Drive in Limavady, admitted entering the Spar shop on Coolessan Walk on January 6 as a trespasser while armed with a knife during the hearing at Londonderry Crown Court yesterday.

The bungling crook wore a white plastic bag over his head in a bid to conceal his identity, but staff in the shop recognised him immediately because he was an almost daily customer who had previously offended in the shop.

An earlier hearing was told he went into the shop shortly after 8.30am wearing the plastic bag over his face, with bits cut out for his eyes and mouth.

A female staff member who was in the till area claimed the man was holding a large knife in his hand and she had "recognised him straight away". Judge Philip Babington said one of the staff shouted at Clarence "Get out Kevin" when he attempted to take money from the shop tills.

Clarence, who told the police that his actions were a prank, has 71 previous criminal convictions and only last week he was jailed for six months for two assaults.

He's due for release on that sentence next January, but yesterday Judge Babington jailed Clarence for a further three years and four months for the Spar shop offence.

The would-be robber will serve 14 months in jail and the remaining 26 months on licence and his sentence starts next January when his existing jail term is served.

Judge Babington said small shops were the very lifeblood of the community and their staff had to be protected.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph