A NORTH-EAST bank robber blew some of his ill-gotten gains on a luxury holiday days after the raid, a court heard.

Russell Snowdon joined an accomplice to blow up a cash machine at the RBS branch in the quiet Dumfriesshire town of Langholm last November.

A judge heard how Snowdon later forked out almost £1,700 in cash for a two week trip to Gambia in Africa with his partner.

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When staff at the English-based travel agent remarked the bank notes were all Scottish, the 42 year-old claimed he had just sold a car there.

But, Snowdon was later snared for the robbery and held shortly after he arrived back in the UK from his holidays.

It emerged yesterday the thug is already a convicted killer having been jailed for the manslaughter of a 53-year-old man with a single blow in 2001.

He now faces another spell behind bars after he pleaded guilty to a number of charges including stealing £45,080 from the RBS.

Snowdon, who latterly lived in Crook, County Durham, will learn his fate later this month.

The High Court in Glasgow heard how residents were awoken by a loud bang around 1.40am last November 11.

One mother and daughter – who lived above the bank – initially thought there had been a car accident.

But, instead, CCTV played in court showed an explosion had occurred at the RBS with the ATM being blasted open.

A figure is then seen climbing through a broken window, removing bundles of cash and handing it to his accomplice outside.

Prosecutor Tim Niven Smith said it was under two minutes from the explosion to the robber inside the RBS leaving.

Police were soon on the scene and it emerged a stolen Land Rover had been used in the raid.

The vehicle was later discovered burnt out with gas canisters nearby.

Snowdon later came under suspicion and it emerged he had left the country days after the robbery.

The court heard he was “enjoying a holiday” in Gambia with his lover having only booked the trip on November 14.

He was later held at Manchester Airport on his return on December 3.

It also emerged his DNA linked him to a lighter, screwdriver and blood spot found at the bank.

The court was told the blast was caused by the “ignition of a flammable gas and air mixture”.

It was said the front of the ATM was likely prised open with a screwdriver before a tube was inserted allowing “compressed gases from cylinders” to cause an explosion.

A total of £8,950 of the stolen cash was recovered having been left at the scene.

Snowdon was remanded in custody prior to sentencing.