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Masked robber threatened to shoot Co-op shop worker with spear gun

Nikolas McGregor was found by police in a garden nearby after the attempted robbery.

CCTV image of Nikolas McGregor in Co-op, Hamilton, North Lanarkshire, threatening shop staff with a spear gun.

A masked robber threatened a shop worker with a spear gun.

Nikolas McGregor demanded cash from Patricia Murphy during a hold-up at a busy Co-op store in South Lanarkshire.

Shoppers fled the Hamilton shop as the 24-year-old armed himself with the weapon which is normally used to kill fish.

McGregor left empty-handed when a security guard challenged him and police later caught him hiding in a garden.

He was jailed for four years and two months at the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday after he admitted attempted robbery.

CCTV footage played in court showed McGregor walking into the Co-Op in the town’s Mill Road on August 17 this year. His face was covered with a woolly balaclava and he wore a bright red tracksuit and a fluorescent builder's vest.

McGregor soon brandished the spear gun at worker Miss Murphy and told her: "Open the f****** till or I will use this." Some customers raced out of the store while Ms Murphy could be seen crying as she cowered behind the till.

Security guard William Russell challenged McGregor, who threatened to shoot him before trying to strike him with a vodka bottle. McGregor eventually ran out before police, including a firearms unit, went on to search for him.

He was discovered that day hiding in a garden drinking a can of beer, claiming he was waiting for his girlfriend. The spear gun and clothes he had worn during the raid were found in a nearby bin.

The court heard traumatised shop worker Ms Murphy was only able to return to work last month.

Lawyer Gerry Considine, defending, said drug dealers had threatened to kill McGregor the day before the attempted robbery due a debt that he had built up.

Mr Considine said McGregor, of Scotstoun, Glasgow, then "foolishly" decided to rob the shop to get cash.

Lord Bannatyne told McGregor: "This serious offence involved the use of a spear gun - the fact it could not be fired makes no difference. This was a very distressing and frightening experience (for Miss Murphy) and this has had a very significant effect on her."

CCTV of spear gun robber Nikolas McGregor in Co-op, Hamilton

Nikolas McGregor: CCTV shows the armed robber entering the Co-op in Hamilton.

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