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Man dubbed 'Terminator' jailed over shop raid 'prank'

James Hill demanded money from the shopkeeper in Alloa before claiming it was a prank.

James Hill: The 32-year-old admitted breach of the peace (file pic).
James Hill: The 32-year-old admitted breach of the peace (file pic). Central Scotland News Agency

A 6ft 4in man nicknamed The Terminator has been jailed after his attempt to pull a prank on a shopkeeper backfired.

James Hill and a friend, Shaun Russell, entered the shop in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, with hoods over their faces and a small toy baseball bat.

They demanded money before Hill, 32, pulled down his mask and told the shopkeeper he had been "joking".

Police had already been called, however, and Hill was arrested.

Hill, of Alloa, appeared for sentence at Falkirk Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to committing a breach of the peace in September 2015 by entering the A and A Mini Market with his face masked and demanding money.

Prosecutor Sarah Lumsden told jurors, who took just 45 minutes to find Hill guilty after a three-day trial: "Look at him - he is built like The Terminator."

Hill had originally been charged with armed robbery but the Crown accepted his guilty plea to the lesser offence.

All charges against Russell, 25, relating to the incident were earlier dropped.

The court was told the baseball bat, which Russell, also of Alloa, had in his hand, was only 12 inches long.

Virgil Crawford, defending, said the entire incident was caught on CCTV.

'You went into this shop with your face masked, and the other person had a small weapon. You demanded money from the shopkeeper, before realising the error of your ways and claiming that you were joking. It must have been a very frightening experience for the shopkeeper, whose wife, I understand, was also present.'
Sheriff Craig Caldwell

He said: "He goes into the shop with his hood on, but very quickly he takes down his hood, purchases some cigarettes, puts the money into the charity tin, and leaves.

"But he would accept that what he did at the outset, while he was doing it for a laugh, did amount to a breach of the peace."

The court heard Hill was already serving an 18-month sentence, imposed last week, for assaulting a middle-aged civil servant in his home in home in Stirling.

Sheriff Craig Caldwell jailed him for a further ten months, to run consecutive to the Stirling sentence.

He said as far as he was concerned, it was at the upper end of the scale for a breach of the peace.

Mr Caldwell said: "You went into this shop with your face masked, and the other person had a small weapon. You demanded money from the shopkeeper, before realising the error of your ways and claiming that you were joking.

"It must have been a very frightening experience for the shopkeeper, whose wife, I understand, was also present."

In the incident in Stirling, which occurred in November 2016, Hill turned on Roderick Grindlay, 53, after the older man met him in a nightclub and invited him home to share a £40 bottle of whisky.

They sat up for four hours drinking the malt and listening to music but when it was nearly dawn, Mr Grindlay decided Hill should leave and stood up and said it was "time for bed".

Hill, who was high on alcohol and cocaine and was said to have a "horrendous" record for violence, launched what Stirling Sheriff Court was told was an "outrageous, disgusting" assault, partially severing his earlobe.

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