Glasgow & West Scotland

Bearsden garage robber's ginger stubble gave him away

Bearsden Services Image copyright Google
Image caption The petrol station worker spotted Torrance's ginger facial hair under his balaclava

A man who raided his local petrol station armed with two meat cleavers was caught after his ginger stubble was spotted, a court has heard.

Ross Torrance, 29, wore a balaclava when he robbed Bearsden Services but his stubble was seen poking out underneath by the forecourt worker.

He was also seen removing the balaclava in a nearby street by an off-duty police officer who identified him.

Torrance admitted the robbery and was jailed for four years and eight months.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that the police officer had heard a panic alarm sounding at the Duntocher Road garage and saw the man ran off.

The officer watched as he removed the balaclava in Castlehill Road and noticed he had red hair and a pale complexion. He identified the robber as Torrance, who lived nearby.

Meat cleavers found

Two meat cleavers and a balaclava were found during a search at Torrance's home in Dryburgh Road.

The stolen money was not recovered.

Torrance admitted robbing the petrol station of a quantity of money and threatening 47-year-old Margaret Stowell with two meat cleavers on 8 December last year.

Prosecutor Bill McVicar told the court that Ms Stowell was about close at 22:00 when she was confronted by Torrance.

Mr McVicar said: "He said: "'Do what yer telt and you won't get hurt,' and placed a bag on the counter and said: 'Put yer money in it.'

"The complainer walked past him and made her way to the tills. She began to feel for the panic button and tried to stall the accused by informing him that it took a few minutes to get into the till.

"She then asked him if he was sure he wanted to do this as there was not a lot of money in the till as it had been a quiet day.

"The only facial feature she could see from under the balaclava was ginger stubble."

Drink and drugs

The court heard that after giving Torrance £170 from the till she told him that was all he was getting and activated the panic alarm.

When Torrance walked out the shop she phoned the police.

Another customer entered the shop and found Ms Stowell in a distressed state.

Torrance has previous convictions for assault and disorderly conduct and was jailed for 30 months in 2012 for an assault involving the use of a machete.

Defence counsel Ronnie Renucci said: "The story of Mr Torrance's life is one of drink and drugs.

"When he committed this offence he was under the influence of Valium and alcohol.

"He realises he was stupid. He lives close to the petrol station. He feels distressed and embarrassed by his behaviour. He is genuinely remorseful for what the complainer went through."

Judge Lord Boyd told Torrance: "Those who work in the retail sector must have the protection of the courts."

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