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  • Kylie Sprott

To catch a thief

After buying my flat I learnt that one of the previous owners had a rather notorious reputation on the island. Although I have not met this person, many stories about their history on Bute abound.


Now, to put things into perspective, Rothesay is not a huge city. Today, the population of the town totals 4,390. So, we are not talking about a massive metropolis here. It would not be too difficult to know a fair swag of the townsfolk, as I have already happily discovered. To me this is highly appealing - but of course it also means that undertaking any criminal activity might have swift (and long lasting) repercussions in terms of your reputation.


So, imagine my surprise to discover that the previous owner of my flat was involved in what has often been referred to as "The Worst Bank Robbery". So entertaining is this story from 1975, that it is still easily found on the internet today. A very quick google search revealed a surprisingly long list of articles about this particular debacle - it has even been covered in The Times. See the links below!


Photo credit: https://careers.workopolis.com/advice/career-path-in-decline-bank-robbers-poorly-paid-for-their-efforts/



From the outset, the trio of would be bank robbers got off to a bad start. As they tried to enter the Royal Bank of Scotland in Victoria Street (sadly, since closed), they got stuck in the revolving doors. As they were unarmed, the friendly bank staff helped them out of their predicament.


The robbers then returned to demand £5,000. Unfortunately for the wanna be thieves, the bank staff were still in fits of laughter about them getting stuck in the revolving doors. They were laughing too hard to take them or their threats of a hold up seriously.


Things went from bad to worse when the leader then lowered the demand to £500 - which created more uncontrollable laughter from the bank crew. One of the trio then jumped over the counter and twisted his ankle in the process - to more peals of laughter! The rest of the robbers then tried to flee, but got stuck in the revolving doors. Again.


On Facebook, there is a group called "Rothesay Remembered", which I am now happily a member of. And as recently as a couple of months ago, this story was once again shared. It is seriously the gift that keeps on giving! So, there is no escaping this story, even 47 years later.


Although my flat's previous owner was more like a failed criminal from a comedy skit than a serious gangster, it is entertaining to know that there is a connection between my new abode and this story. Shaun did find a knife under the old floor boards, but sadly no cash!













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