Serial robber tagged for life

An ARMED robber twice freed early from lengthy jail-terms only to re-offend each time is to be monitored for life.

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Joseph McGarry (50) was found guilty of robbing a bookmakers, newsagent and two food retailers in Bathgate, Eaglesham and Glasgow in July last year.

He had previously been jailed for 10 years in 1993 and 12 years in 2003 for a series of other robberies.

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At the high court in Glasgow he was placed on an order for lifelong restriction and jailed for a minimum of five years.

The court heard how two years were added to McGarry’s sentence in 1993 for a prison escape bid.

He was released early but then went on to carry out a series of armed raids and was locked up for 12 years in 2003.

That term was due to expire in 2015 but he was again let out on licence in August 2009 having served just half the sentence.

Seven months later, while acting with 40-year-old accomplice, James Collins, McGarry held up staff at knifepoint at a Ladbrokes bookmakers in Bathgate, West Lothian and made off with just under £4,000 on July 3.

McGarry and Collins then robbed an RS McColl newsagents in Eaglesham July 15. Just 24 hours later, they raided a Scotmid shop in Crookston, emptying a safe of £3,500.

Collins was earlier jailed for six years and eight months after he admitted his part in the robberies.

Meanwhile, enquiries are on-going after a man robbed a five-figure sum of cash from a Shawlands branch of Superdrug.

At 6pm on June 27, two female staff members were threatened by the man in the Kilmarnock Road shop. He escaped onto Pollokshaws Road.

The man was sallow-skinned, between 5ft 6in and 5 ft 7in tall, with a possible Eastern European accent.

He was wearing a black waterproof jacket and carrying a black holdall.

Police are studying CCTV images from the area and have appealed for information.

The women were left uninjured but extremely distressed after the robbery.

Constable Colin Murphy said: “This has been a very frightening ordeal for the two staff members who were in the store at the time of the incident and it’s imperative we trace the man responsible.

“It’s possible he may have been hanging around outside the store before he approached the entrance. At this time of day the area would have been busy and someone may have noticed him either before or after the robbery.

“I would appeal to anyone who any information or knowledge to please get in touch with us”.