A KNIFE thug mugged four young men with a Stanley blade in an Irvine underpass – and told one of them that he would ‘take his face off’.

Dylan Shanks, 23, was on bail when he robbed the group earlier this year – but is now behind bars as he awaits sentence for the terrifying attack that left his victims “frozen with fear”.

Shanks pleaded guilty to charges of assault, robbery and possession a bladed weapon when he appeared in court this week.

He admitted preying on his victims in a horrifying 20-minute incident in the underpass leading to Bowhouse Rise at Middleton Road on the night of February 26.

Irvine resident Shanks, currently behind bars at Kilmarnock prison, was told to expect a jail term when sentence is eventually passed later this year.

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard Shanks had been in custody since his first appearance in court two days after the incident.

Procurator fiscal depute Craig Wainwright told the court the group had been socialising in Girdle Toll before walking together towards Bourtreehill on the night of the incident.

They reached the underpass, which was in darkness, when Shanks – who was unknown to the group – came up behind them and asked for a cigarette.

Mr Wainwright said: “He seized [the complainer’s] collar, taking a Stanley knife from his pocket and holding it to [the complainer's] cheek.” 

Shanks then threatened: “Give me all your clothing or I’ll take the face off you.” 

Mr Wainwright continued: “All froze with fear. He went to each of them, who emptied their pockets one by one, handing over the items, fearing what he would do if they didn’t comply.” 

Shanks stole a mobile phone, house keys, earphones and items of clothing, including a pair of trainers from the male he held the blade to - also taking an Apple smart watch, £7 in cash and various items of clothing from the second.  

The third named victim was robbed of a mobile phone, keys, bank card, an ID, two guitar capos, earphones and various items of clothing, while a bag pack, head torch and various items of clothing were stolen from the fourth victim. 

Mr Wainwright added: “He asked for the items to be filled into the backpack.

"In total the incident lasted 20 minutes. The accused held the Stanley knife throughout. 

“He said ‘right, that’ll do lads - don’t call the polis or I’ll get the troops on you’.

Police were contacted after the victims returned home, and Shanks was traced at the address of his partner, where cops had to force entry to the property before he was cautioned and charged.

Mr Wainwright added: "They recovered a number of items identified as belonging to the complainers. All were recovered except the £7 in cash."

The indictment states that the offences were committed while Shanks was the subject of a bail order granted by the High Court in Lanark.

Sheriff Alistair Watson said: “Given his young age and record, I think reports and a risk assessment will be necessary.

“I think the likelihood of a non-custodial sentence will be slim.”
Shanks’ solicitor made no application for bail and her client was returned to custody, with the judge adding: “Yes, I think he has to be realistic.”

Sheriff Watson told Shanks: "This is obvious but you do potentially face a custodial sentence.

“Before making my mind up I want a background report as you're still relatively young. Given your previous I will need an assessment on your level of risk."