A pub manager and the criminal gang he gave inside information to before a violent £77,000 robbery have been jailed for a total of 24 years and seven months.
Aidan Kelly, 30, who worked at the Biddy Mulligans pub in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket as deputy general manager, gave the thieves details about when to strike to steal the weekend takings.
Pub worker Eric Drought was later ambushed by Steven Batten, 25, Jordan Craig, 26, Dale Thomson, 26 and an unknown associate as he went to deposit cash late at night at the RBS branch in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh.
They raced out of a car and punched him twice and then threatened him with a baseball bat.
The gang made off with £77,275.95 and only £8875.11 was recovered.
Judge Lord Matthews said: “Aiden Kelly passed on information about the banking procedures to Steven Batten and the plan was put into action.
“There is no doubt this was thought out and prepared in advance. You arranged for a safe house and used false plates on a vehicle.
“What you did, Aidan Kelly, was a gross breach of trust, which caused substantial loss to your employers and put a colleague at risk.”
Lord Matthews jailed Kelly for five years and ten months, Craig for six years and nine months and Batten and Thomson for six years each and praised what he described as “painstaking police work” which led to their swift apprehension.
Prosecutor Derick Nelson told the High Court in Glasgow: “Steven Batten was given inside information about the banking procedures by Aidan Kelly.”
Defence counsel John McElroy, defending Kelly, said: “He was enthralled to the abuse of cocaine with a £300 to £500 a week habit and got himself in debt to the tune of £5000.”
The three other accused also claimed they were in debt.
The court heard that the robbers were caught because of CCTV footage and also because of a tip-off to police that they were staying at a serviced apartment following the robbery.
DNA evidence from there helped to link them to the robbery.
Phone calls made by Kelly to Batten leading up to the robbery linked him into the crime. They were arrested weeks after the theft.
All four admitted to an assault and robbery charge.
The court heard that Biddy Mulligans and The Three Sisters pub in the nearby Cowgate had exceptional takings that weekend because of rugby, football and the Edinburgh festival all taking place in the capital.
In the early hours of August 25, last year, Drought – who worked at The Three Sisters – was picked up by the firm’s operation’s manager Derek Menzies to deposit money from the pubs.
Around 1.35am, Mr Drought got out at the RBS to put money in the night safe.
Mr Nelson said: “As he opened a rucksack to remove takings, he felt a blow to the right side of the face and became aware of one person taking the rucksack away from him.”
Mr Drought, 27, tried to fight back, but was knocked down again. He was treated for a head wound at hospital.
Kelly’s spending habits were checked after his arrest. He told police he had built up a £5000 drug debt and he had tried to pay it by gambling.
Mr Nelson added: “It is accepted that he was not one of the four men in the car used to carry out the assault and robbery.”