A BLUNDERING robber who wore a distinctive bobble hat and used a taxi as his getaway car after an armed raid on a Sunderland bookies’ has been put behind bars.
Stephen Devlin was quickly traced by detectives after he was taken to his own home by the unsuspecting cabbie - while wearing the green headwear.
Newcastle Crown Court heard he had left staff at the Paddy Power betting shop in Park Lane, Sunderland, terrified after carrying a kitchen knife behind the counter and taking £95 in cash on February 1.
The women workers had locked themselves in an office when they realised the store was under attack by a knifeman and one was frightened to return to work.
The court heard the culprit was nowhere in sight when police got to the scene.
But prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court: “The defendant left the area of the bookmakers by taxi to the area where he as living.
“He was wearing an extremely distinctive hat with bright green bobbles on.
“Police made inquiries to the taxi office and traced him to the location where he had been dropped off.”
The court heard the 39-year-old, who was high on drink and drugs, had to be Tasered before he could be arrested.
Devlin, of Raleigh Square, Red House, Sunderland, who has a catalogue of previous convictions, admitted robbery and possession of a bladed article.
Judge Deborah Sherwin jailed him for three years and four months.
She told him: “I have seen a letter in which you talk about how deeply sorry you are for what you did, how ashamed you feel of it, how you felt horrible when you heard the girl in the shop had been scared to go to work because of what you had done. This offence is serious.”
Vic Laffey, defending, told the court Devlin’s behaviour got worse ater he was almost killed in a serious bike accident in 2013.
Mr Laffey added: “He has no explanation as to why he embarked on this incident or why in particular he chose this bookmakers.”