Man admits Kirkcaldy 'taxi driver' bank robbery
A man has admitted forcing a taxi driver to carry out a bank robbery by threatening staff with a fake bomb.
The High Court in Glasgow heard that Andrew Patrick pointed a gun at Alistair Rankine before giving him a bag said to have a bomb inside.
The 40-year-old then ordered the driver to steal cash from a Bank of Scotland branch in Kirkcaldy, Fife.
Patrick will be sentenced next month after admitting assault and robbery at the High Court in Glasgow.
The court heard Patrick was working as a gym instructor, earning up to £300 a week at the time, but prosecutor Allan Nicol said he was facing financial difficulties.
On 11 November last year he called a taxi firm, putting on a fake Polish accent, and asked to be picked up at an industrial estate in Lochgelly.
Wearing sunglasses and with a scarf covering his chin, he got into the cab while clutching two holdalls.
Still pretending to be foreign, he then directed the driver to a dead end in Kirkcaldy where he pulled out a black handgun and said: "You'll be safe if you do what I say."
The court heard he handed a typed note to Mr Rankine and insisted he hand it over to staff at the nearby Bank of Scotland in the town's Carberry Road.
It stated: "There is a transmitter in your bank and the lines are wired.
"We can hear you and know if you try to call police. There is a bomb strapped to this man... also in the bag. They can go off if transmitter detect signal or call."
The taxi driver tried to raise the alarm while walking to the bank by telling a passerby: "I am a taxi driver - there is a boy in my taxi with a gun. It's not a wind up."
Despite the warnings, police were alerted and the note was read over to them. A security alarm was also pressed.
One worker looked in the holdall and saw what she assumed was a bomb.
Mr Rankine eventually left the bank with almost £10,000, but by this time Patrick had gone.
Bomb disposal experts were called but the explosives were found to be fake, each consisting of little more than tubes, cotton wool and a mobile phone circuit board.
Patrick was identified as a suspect after his description was circulated and mobile phone records showed he was in the area at the time.
A cap like one used by the robber was found at his home and draft emails referring to a bomb were discovered on a computer by a work colleague.
The court heard the taxi driver continues to suffer flashbacks, insomnia, anxiety and fear. Bank staff were also left "extremely shaken".
The gun used in the robbery was found to be an imitation.
The judge Lord Bannatyne remanded Patrick, of Lochgelly, in custody and deferred sentencing for reports.