South Scotland

Langholm cash machine explosion robber jailed for 10 years

Russell Snowdon Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Russell Snowdon was jailed at the High Court in Glasgow

A bank raider who was caught after spending some of the stolen cash on a luxury holiday has been jailed for more than 10 years.

Russell Snowdon, 42, of County Durham, and an accomplice teamed up to blast open a cash machine at a branch in Langholm in November last year.

Soon afterwards he jetted out to Gambia for a two-week getaway with his lover.

However, he paid nearly £1,700 in cash in Scottish notes - which was spotted by staff at a travel agent in England.

Snowdon - already a convicted killer - claimed he had just sold a car north of the border, but was held by police shortly after he landed back in the UK.

He also tried to break out from Dumfries jail while on remand in March this year.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Lady Dorrian jailed him for eight years and two months for stealing £45,080 from the Royal Bank of Scotland branch.

She added a further two years for the prison escape bid, and pointed out that Snowdon already had a string of convictions for "violence and dishonesty".

Image caption Snowdon admitted stealing about £45,000 from the bank in November last year

The RBS raid took place at about 01:40 on 11 November 2016. CCTV showed an explosion which burst open the ATM.

A figure is spotted climbing in a broken window and handing bundles of cash out to his accomplice in the street.

The raiders then left in a stolen Land Rover which was later discovered burnt out with gas canisters nearby.

However, a total of £8,950 of the stolen cash was recovered having been left at the scene.

'Flammable gas'

Snowdon, latterly of Crook in County Durham, soon came under suspicion.

It was discovered he was "enjoying a holiday" in Gambia with his girlfriend having just paid for the trip on 14 November.

Prosecutor Tim Niven Smith said: "The travel agent had made a remark about the Scottish notes being unusual and Snowdon said he had sold a car in Scotland recently."

He was held at Manchester Airport on his return.

It also emerged his DNA linked him to a lighter, screwdriver and blood spot found at the bank.

The court was told the ATM blast was caused by the "ignition of a flammable gas and air mixture".

Image caption Snowdon also tried to break out of Dumfries prison

Snowdon also pled guilty to trying to escape from HMP Dumfries.

A guard heard a commotion in the early hours of 26 March and checked the cell occupied by Snowdon and a fellow inmate.

It was discovered window bars had been cut and that bed sheets had been used to cover razor wire outside the building.

Two blades from a hacksaw were then found.

Mr Niven Smith said: "Had he made it onto the roof, he could have made good his escape from the prison."

Snowdon's lawyer Thomas Ross said he had since been moved to another jail and was not able to mix with other prisoners.

'Soft touch'

Snowdon was locked up in 2001 for manslaughter after hitting a grandfather as he stood at a bus stop.

He was also jailed for eight years in 2004 for his role in an armed robbery at a post office.

Speaking after sentencing, Det Sgt Colin McKinstry said: "This was a considerable inquiry which was helped in no small part by those living in the Langholm community who came forward with crucial information.

"This sentence clearly reflects the seriousness of the crime and once again sends out a strong message to any would-be criminals that they will pay a heavy price if they think they can commit crime and get away with it just because this is a rural area.

"Police Scotland will continue to work with our communities to ensure that our people and our property are kept safe from those who might think we are a soft touch."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites