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Hammer-wielding robbers threatened family in piggy bank raid

William Christie and Christopher Smith jailed for total of eight and a half years.

High court: Men put on Polish accents during raid (file pic).
High court: Men put on Polish accents during raid (file pic).

Two men forced their way into a family home and stole three children's piggy banks.

William Christie, 29, and Christopher Smith, 26, were jailed for a total of eight and a half years for ransacking the house in Elgin, Moray.

They woke up 46-year-old Michael McMann by pulling a sleep apnoea mask from his face and demanding to know where a safe was.

A 13-year-old child was asleep next door as the pair swung a hammer towards Mr McMann, who then fled the bedroom and house. The two men escaped.

Christie, from Elgin, and Smith, from Keith, both in Moray, pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to forcing their way into the house on November 22, 2015, assaulting Mr McMann and stealing three piggy banks.

Judge Lord Boyd sentenced Christie to four years and Smith to four and a half years.

He told the pair: "This was an assault on Mr McMann, fortunately there was no physical injury.

"But this was a frightening experience for him and has also affected the 13-year-old boy who was asleep at the time."

The court heard Mr McMann was staying at his friend Craig McDonald's house that night and a child was staying in the property as well while Mr McDonald was out working as a taxi driver.

Advocate depute Paul Brown, prosecuting, said that around 2am Mr McMann was woken up by someone pulling his sleep apnoea mask away from his face and shouting "Where's the safe?".

He said: "As he uttered the words the male affected a polish accent. Mr McMann then saw a second male enter the room. He was also shouting 'where's the safe?' and was also affecting a polish accent.

"The complainer sat up in bed. He saw that the second male was holding a claw hammer in his right hand, which he was swinging in an aggressive manner."

The victim stood up and the man swung the hammer towards him. He punched the man to the face and ran past him and to a neighbour's house to phone the police.

It was reported to the police that two men had forced their way into the house and were driving around in a silver Subaru wearing balaclavas.

Mr McDonald immediately returned home after he received a phone call telling him what happened and noticed that in one of the rooms three coloured piggy banks - one with silver coins and two with coppers - were missing.

The court heard Mr McDonald did have a safe in his house with takings from his taxi business, which he told police about.

When he checked the safe he saw it was undisturbed and undiscovered and couldn't think of anybody suspicious who knew about it.

Both accused were later found hiding in undergrowth near to the silver car and were "extremely hostile".

When interviewed both accused refused to answer questions and made no reply when they were charged.

It was said on their behalf that they thought the house was empty when they entered it.

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