A ROBBER who raided a till in Saltcoats was released on bail while he awaits sentence.

Mark Gallagher, 54, pleaded guilty to the theft at Scott McKinnon Aesthetics when he was brought out from custody last week [Wednesday, April 4].

A not guilty plea to a second allegation on the complaint was accepted by prosecutors.

Gallagher, of St Lawrence Place, Saltcoats, was previously jailed after raiding his nearby newsagent with a bread knife wearing a plastic bag around his face during the earlier incident – before his mask slipped and he was recognised by staff.

When he returned to court last week [Wednesday, April 27] the Procurator Fiscal depute said: “At 1pm on January 15, 2022 an employee was in the locus and observed the accused enter the store and approach till close to the front of the store.

“When she asked him what he was doing, she observed them remove money from the till. The accused then ran. The employed noted £100 was missing. Police were contacted, although their attempts to trace him were unsuccessful at that time.”

Defence solicitor Simon Brown said: “He has a longstanding difficulty with alcohol and valium and did attempt to acknowledge his guilt at an early stage.”

Sheriff Rhona Wark said: “Mr Gallagher, sentence will be deferred on this matter for the preparation of reports. You must cooperate fully.

“In addition I’m going to grant you bail.”

The case was adjourned for Criminal Justice social work reports and a restriction of liberty order and he was bailed to return later in the year.

Back in 2020, Gallagher admitted assault and robbery at the McColls newsagents in Old Raise Road on January 8, 2020 after breaking into the Ayrshire Hospice shop in Dockhead Street between September 9 and September 10 2019.

He entered the McColls newsagent at 7am one morning wearing a carrier bag around his face, gloves and carrying a large bread knife.

He demanded ‘give us the money’ to two staff, who said they were unable to open the till before Gallagher tried to reach behind the counter.

Staff were able to press the panic alarm, and Gallagher’s mask slipped – with him recognised as a customer.

Police attended his address and saw him arrive in the same clothes. DNA was found on the recovered items.