Accused chased from takeaway is jailed for 28 months

A MAN, who took part in an attempted armed robbery at a Chinese takeaway in Thurso, was jailed for twenty-eight months yesterday.

He was Damon Mackay, 27, who along with accomplice Thomas Deighan, 23, burst into the premises of the Empire takeaway, last year, wearing makeshift face masks and each carrying a knife.

Deighan told Mackay to "clear the till" but staff member Soon Chai stood his ground and the would-be robbers left empty handed and were apprehended later.

The pair subsequently appeared at Wick Sheriff Court and pleaded guilty on indictment. They also admitted breaking into the Well Pharmacy in Thurso, after putting a brick though a window and stole a quantity of drugs... unaware the escapade was being recorded by a CCTV camera. The offences occurred in January last year.

Deighan and Mackay were granted bail and both were due to be sentenced in February.

However, Mackay, whose address was then given as 39 Leith Walk, Wick, went on the run, leaving his partner-in-crime to face the music. Deighan, of 4 Lord Thurso Court, Thurso,, was jailed for 23 months.

A warrant was issued for Mackay's arrest and he appeared in court last month claiming that he was on his way north to give himself up when he was apprehended.

Solicitor Fiona MacDonald said yesterday, that during the time he had "absented himself" from the court, Mackay had taken steps aimed at addressing issues in his life particularly the use of drugs.

She said: "There is still work to be done to ensure there is no further re-offending" and added:" The accused accepts the aggravation he caused by absenting himself."

Sheriff Andrew Berry said that the offences were serious in any area, but more unusual "in this part of the world" and commended the "very plucky" Mr Chai who had ushered the pair out of his premises.

The sheriff said: "It must have been a deeply unpleasant experience for him".

Sheriff Berry said he was also taking account of "the huge amount of inconvenience" Mackay had caused, by breaching his bail and not appearing for sentence, originally, and rejected the suggestion that he was heading north to hand himself in.

The sheriff told Mackay: "It may be that you have had some insight that would contribute to you not offending further, but if you did, this conviction would shine out like a beacon and there would be very serious consequences.

Imposing the prison sentence of 28 months for the attempted robbery, the sheriff said that it included three months for the bail aggravation.

The term will be back-dated to June 9 when Mackay was arrested. He was admonished on the pharmacy break-in charge.