By Morag Hobbs
A robber who left his distressed victim in need of counselling has been sentenced today at the high court in Edinburgh to ten months in jail.
Morris Hodgkiss was found guilty of attempted robbery on Jeffery James Jewellery shop, Haddington on the 7th October of this year.
Hodgkiss, who has previously been convicted 30 times for a string of offences including assault, robbery and breach of the peace, was on probation after a previous prison sentence, and under the influence of alcohol and diazepam when he entered the jewellery shop with his hood up and a white mask covering his face apart from his eyes, where there was only the proprietor present.
Caroline Brand, who is to give up the shop when the lease is up in 2012, is said to be greatly distressed at the incident and has been receiving counselling and support since.
Hodgkiss was said to tell Brand there was no need to ‘press any buttons’, and a passer-by Martin Blearman banged on the window, at which point Hodgkiss fled. Blearman managed to retrieve Hodgkiss’s car registration which led to his arrest. In his bag which he took into the shop, police found among other things masking tape and a hammer, which the judge described as a copycat offence of the first which put him in prison where he tied up a shop assistant. The judge said that Hodgkiss was at a high risk of re offending and a custodial sentence was the only option in this case.