Robbie was a member of Harvey Gaskell's drugs gang who was tasked with tracking down Leanne Battersby and Simon Barlow who had gone into hiding with Nick Tilsley under a witness protection programme after tip-offs and evidence from Leanne led to Harvey being arrested and remanded in Highfield Prison awaiting trial.
Harvey's aunt Sharon Bentley was roped in to assist, and when other avenues failed it was decided to snatch Sam Blakeman to bring his father Nick out of hiding. Under instructions, Robbie turned up on Viaduct Street with a van, a telescope, and a photograph of Sam for a final briefing from Sharon who warned him to keep a low profile as it was "sickening" how everyone on the street knew each other. Robbie waited outside 8 Coronation Street for Sam to turn up, supposedly collecting junk, and was intercepted by an unwitting Gary Windass who offered him £30 to take some of his own unwanted items from his furniture shop to the dump for him. Even though Sharon tried to intervene, Robbie was forced to take the job on. The task over, Robbie returned to his post and when he saw Sam coming home by himself, pretended to make a phone call to an associate, questioning how to get rid of an unwanted telescope. An inquisitive Sam went into the back of the van to look over the instrument, upon which Robbie slammed the doors shut and drove him away, leaving the boy overnight in the van on an abandoned industrial estate.
When Nick turned up to find out what had happened to his missing son, Sharon contacted Harvey who had the boy released. The child was taken to Weatherfield General as a precaution and when Nick left the premises after ensuring that he was unharmed, he got into a waiting black cab which Robbie had stolen from its true owner and was driving himself. Nick was locked in and Robbie told him in no uncertain terms that Sam would go missing for good unless Leanne came out of hiding. He supplied him with a burner phone to give to Leanne in order that she could ring through with her decision the next day, making it clear to Nick that the gang knew where his family lived and he was powerless to protect them.
Just a week later, Sharon's cover had been blown by an enquiring Jenny Connor and she had to get out of the area fast, but was held by Rita Tanner who demanded to know exactly what her former foster daughter was up to. The two were locked up in The Kabin where Sharon came clean about everything while outside Gary spotted Robbie's van parked on Viaduct Street and knew something was up. He kicked the door of the newsagents open but Sharon fled through the back. Giving chase, Gary snatched the van keys and was pursued by Robbie into the short ginnel behind Brewery Lane and the back gardens on Coronation Street. Trapped in a dead end, Robbie raised a pistol to shoot Gary and leave no loose ends, despite Sharon's pleas. Gary was saved by Sam, who had been bought his own telescope and, listening from the adjoining garden, he entered the alleyway and hit Robbie over his head with the hard casing of the instrument, sending the fired bullet astray and saving Gary's life. Robbie was arrested while Sharon fled in the van.
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