Cigarette butt helped catch bin bag wearing robber
Main article content
A bungling robber who stole cash from a petrol station was caught after police found traces of his DNA on a cigarette he’d left behind.
David Lafferty was wearing a black bin bag over his face to try and hide his identity when he charged into a Sutton-in-Ashfield garage and demanded cash.
While shielding an unknown object from view that was perceived to be a gun, Lafferty forced a staff member to empty the contents of the till into a bag he was carrying.
After filling the bag with around £400, including the coins from the till, the masked robber ran out the door and tripped over – dropping change all over the petrol station forecourt.
Lafferty then got up and ran from the Huthwaite Road garage in the direction of Lammas Road – discarding his makeshift mask onto the pavement as he did so.
The black bin bag was later recovered by police, as was a cigarette butt found at the petrol station close to where CCTV showed the robbery suspect as having a smoke right before the incident on 2 February 2020.
Following extensive inquiries, Lafferty was identified as a potential suspect by a distinctive tattoo on his hand that bore some similarities to one described as being on the hand of the masked robber.
The 43-year-old was later charged with robbery after forensic experts found traces of his DNA on both the black bin bag he’d used to cover his face and the cigarette butt found at the scene of the crime.
Having initially denied any involvement in the robbery, Lafferty eventually pleaded guilty to the charge and attended Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on Friday (14 July).
Lafferty, of HMP Ranby, was jailed for four years and six months.
Detective Constable Adam Penn, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Lafferty showed a complete disregard for the law when he made the decision to rob a petrol station and take cash that didn’t belong to him.
“By making it seem like he had a gun in his possession throughout, he put the staff member he targeted through an incredibly scary ordeal and left them feeling that their life was in genuine danger.
“Thanks to some thorough investigative work from our officers, including our forensic team, we were ultimately able to link Lafferty to what he’d done and ensure he didn’t get away with it.
“This was a great example of our officers working together and leaving no stone unturned to get to the truth and track down the person responsible for what was an appalling crime.
“This sentencing should serve as a warning to anyone else thinking of carrying out a robbery just how seriously we take reports of this nature and the kind of punishment that could await them.”