Tayside and Central Scotland

Man who used can of energy drink to rob woman jailed

A former soldier who robbed a woman using a can of energy drink in Stirling has been jailed for almost four years.

Allan Johnston held up Jennifer Pringle in broad daylight near the city centre in August by pretending the can of Red Bull was a gun.

The 40-year-old made off with her handbag but was quickly apprehended.

He pleaded guilty to assault and robbery using an "imitation firearm", but said he would not have used a real gun because "guns kill people".

Johnston, who was previously jailed in 1995 at a court martial for drugs and theft offences, said he had robbed the woman for money to buy drugs.

His victim was walking in Forthside Way when Johnston approached her and said: "Excuse me, can I asked you a question?"

'Guns kill people'

The High Court in Glasgow heard that he then took his left hand from his jacket and appeared to be holding what Miss Pringle feared was a metallic handgun. She handed over her bag and Johnston fled.

Police were alerted and found the robber near the scene with his girlfriend, with the victim's ID cards in his possession.

Prosecutor Allan Nicol told the court that Johnston had "used a can of Red Bull to mimic a gun" during the robbery.

Although he admitted assault and robbery, Johnston denied he had a firearm, as having been in the army he knew how dangerous they were.

Mr Nicol added: "He said he would not use a gun because 'guns kill people'."

Jailing Johnston for 45 months, Lord Turnbull told him: "You have pleaded guilty to an offence perpetrated against a stranger in the middle of the day while she was going about her ordinary business.

"This was extremely frightening and upsetting for the lady concerned."

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