Armed robber snared by pink dog collar

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ARMED raider John Patterson was served up ruff justice after he was nabbed because of his dog’s pink collar.

The crook tied up his whippet as he walked into a Sunderland takeaway armed with a knife intending to rob it.

Pizza Uno - 51 St Luke's Terrace, Pallion, Sunderland...

Pizza Uno - 51 St Luke's Terrace, Pallion, Sunderland...

After a worker refused to hand over cash, Patterson left with his hood up to avoid identification – but his dog’s distinctive collar was caught on camera.

CCTV caught him as he walked to his home just four streets away - but despite using special facial mapping techniques police could not confirm it was him.

But it was the distinctive pink collar his dog was wearing that gave police the lead.

Patterson, 23, was jailed for two-and-a-half years at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday after he pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and unrelated charges of burglary and theft.

The court was told Patterson set out to rob Pizza Uno, in St Luke’s Terrace, Pallion in the early hours of November 20 2011.

Wearing its pretty pink collar, the dog waited patiently outside as Patterson walked in.

The court heard how the woman worker was left “very shaken” by the ordeal.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court: “At the time the defendant was living with his then girlfriend four streets away.

“CCTV showed the offender walking a whippet dog with a pink collar, which is significant.

“From the CCTV from inside the shop the defendant had his face covered with a hood.

“Facial mapping was done of the offender’s face and it gave partial support that it was the defendant.

“However, the dog collar and lead were extremely distinctive and they were found at his girlfriend’s address.”

Jailing Patterson Mr Recorder Jeremy Freedman told him: “Your face was not recognisable because you had a hood but in the event you had a dog and you were caught on CCTV.

“An aggravating feature is you had a knife in our possession and you used it as a threat.

“You committed this offence in the hours of darkness.

“I accept entirely this was an impulsive act, it was unplanned and it was unsophisticated.”

Lee Fish, defending, said Patterson, now of Trowbridge Way, Kenton, Newcastle, had produced the knife just briefly and left the shop without using any violence.

Mr Fish said Patterson had acted out of character and added: “He never intended to cause anyone any harm.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho