Masked thug in sawn-off shotgun raid spared jail because he's 'young and impressionable'

A masked thug who wielded a sawn-off shotgun during a terrifying store raid before being fought off by a shopkeeper will not go to jail – because he is so young and impressionable.

Ranvir Bassi raid WEB
Left, shopkeeper Ranvir Bassi, and right, a gun-wielding Jack Phillips.

But today the identity of the teenager behind the bungled robbery attempt can be revealed as Jack Phillips – after reporting restrictions keeping it hidden were lifted.

Phillips, who was 17 at the time, was fought off by Ranvir Bassi. With the weapon pointed at her face and her seven-year-old daughter clinging to her skirt, the 35-year-old refused to hand over money, pushed the gun away and chased the masked raider to the door of her shop in Stafford. But a judge at the town’s crown court has ruled that Phillips should be spared a custodial sentence – to the disappointment of Mrs Bassi who said she was shocked he had not been put behind bars. Under the Firearms Act anyone who uses a gun with intent should receive a custodial sentence – unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Recorder Michael Elsom said Phillips’ age and the fact others had told him to carry out the offence made it an exceptional case and that the mandatory period of three years in jail should not be imposed.

Mr Elsom told him: “[The prosecution] can’t exclude the possibility that what you did on November 4 was done under the direction of others more criminally experienced than yourself, or under pressure. I have reports which suggest you are a person particularly susceptible to pressure. There must be absolutely no doubt that what you did was a very dangerous thing indeed, should anyone think I have forgotten the undoubted bravery of Mrs Bassi.

“If they had the advantage, as I have, of seeing the recording of what occurred, no-one who saw that can think it was anything other than a thoroughly frightening incident. Mrs Bassi behaved with extreme bravery – she didn’t know the gun you had in your hand was quite incapable of being fired.”

The judge ordered that Mrs Bassi be given a £500 reward for her bravery. She was shutting the shop 10 minutes early to visit her son Gurdip, eight, who was in hospital suffering from eczema, when Phillips stormed in at 8.20pm. She was in the stock room with her daughter when they heard shouting – and within seconds they were confronted by the gunman.

Ranvir Bassi thug
Jack Phillips caught on CCTV at the store.

Mrs Bassi screamed ‘Get out of my shop’ and pushed him backwards towards the door. As he stumbled onto the street she locked up and called the police.

Mrs Bassi said at the time that she was spurred into action by hearing her daughter’s cries. Phillips, now aged 18, and formerly of Stafford but now living in Middlesbrough, admitted offences of attempted robbery, possessing a firearm with intent to commit robbery and possessing a prohibited weapon.

He was given two years detention, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 240 hours unpaid community work and given a six-month curfew. The video of Mrs Bassi tackling him was put on the internet by Staffordshire Police in a bid to catch the offender – and it quickly went viral. Phillips, though, had been ‘seemingly bragging’ about being in the footage on YouTube, the court heard previously.

Ranvir Bassi
Ranvir Bassi, who sent the armed robber packing from Bassi & Son newsagents.

Police found the defendant’s trainers near Mrs Bassi’s shop in Rickerscote Road and the shotgun discarded among old bike frames.

Its stock had been crudely cut down and the barrel shortened. And the force’s armorer said it was an old weapon in a poor state that could have been put into working condition. It was loaded with a live 12-bore round.

Mr Michael Anning, defending, said Phillips didn’t persist in his threats and the raid was over in a short period of time. He had been under pressure in relation to a debt he allegedly owed and the gun was given to him by others to commit the offence, the court heard.

Mrs Bassi’s family have run the store for 19 years and she insists they will not be forced out. But the raid badly affected her daughter, who suffered from nightmares and flashbacks.

Mrs Bassi said she was surprised to hear her attacker had not been jailed, adding: “I’m shocked. I just want to put it all behind me and move on now, and just forget about it.”

Chief Insp Jane Hewett said: “I would like to commend Mrs Bassi on her bravery. She showed tremendous courage.”

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Comments for: "Masked thug in sawn-off shotgun raid spared jail because he's 'young and impressionable'"


This is madness ! someone young and impressionable is a 10 year old kid being goaded into stealing sweets not weilding a shotgun, working or not. The way sentences are given out these days are a joke, they don't match up, also if the gun had a cartridge in it, the lad obviously was going to fire it if necessary, even though it wasn't fit to fire. The latest campaign's are for knife crimes whether you are carrying a knife or using it and rightly so but leave gun's out of it if the person carrying it is young and impressionable !


Well i must say how pleased i am to see what happens to middle class people and the way they view crime.

What an absolute disgrace ,you ought to be ashamed of yourself for his sentence. (non).

What a great example for lots of other young children, ie no example at all.

You want locking up if you think that the sentence is correct.

Go on and have a laugh with your friends whilst sipping your Pimms.

Enjoy yourself and goodnight.


I agree albpeh, and I was going to add but thought better of it, but no I am going to say it, Let's just hope you or non of your family have to go through the same thing, with a shotgun put to your head you will be asking for a massive sentence, there again you probably wouldn't get crime like these where you live !


Epsom, you are an absolute disgrace. Just resign because you are not doing the community any favours at all. What message are you sending out?

British justice......don't make me laugh......

The Real Bully Hoo.


Makes a mockery of the bravery of this young woman as well.


100% disgusting, that young child will be scarred for life seeing the scumbag point a shotgun in her moms face, when is it going to be about the victim for once.

What a dangerous individual, no matter what age.


In reply to Middley.

I of course wanted a suitable sentence to fit the crime , not this joke one.

You do realize that i was only joking ,much the same as the sentence that was given.

Of course if my family ,or anybodies family were frightened to death ,i would expect a suitable sentence, not a joke like this.

My children and grandchildren still live in the uk and i was hoping it would be a good place to live and bring their families up.

Well once again i have been proved wrong.What a place it is becoming.

Please note i had to move to live abroad because of my ill health ,and when you see the law it doesn"t me make feel that good.


In reply to albpeh, I knew your reply was tongue in cheek, I did start off by saying i agreed with you, and the rest of my comment was aimed Michael Elsom, who gave out the No sentence in the first place. Sorry to hear you are ill in health.

old age pensioner

So if he was forced to carry out the robbery, why have'nt the others been arrested as well?

Imagine the uproar, if he had pulled the trigger, and got away !!!!


To Mr old age pensioner,

Of course we had a different up bringing ,didn"t we.

We never would have thought of robbing some store.

There is no excuse at all either with committing the crime and also the lack of true justice.


Armed robbery is armed robbery. Jail.

Judge should be struck off.


What a courageous young lady.

What an awful shame for the child.

What a totally inappropriate sentence.

The judge should be named, shamed and dismissed without any pay off or pension rights.


will he sent to bed early with no supper as well.


do you not think its about time senility tests are compulsory within the legal profession. clearly this man is unable to carry out the job we are paying a fortune for him to carry out. we also need real people to sit on the bench, I have regular dealings with the courts as part of my job and I have yet to come across one that is living in the real world. this case needs to be referred to a higher level of our so called justice system for review and senile recorder elsom needs to be publically sacked without a financial settlement or pension. you are a disgrace mr elsom shame on you!!!!!!. not only do we have to stand up against the scum that carried out this act but also the old boys club known as our wonderful legal system


The judge should be SACKED! What a totally inappropriate sentence! What an utter disgrace. The law in this country is an ass and I have no confidence or respect for it.


Argh come on boys will be boys..walking round with LOADED shot-guns. Bless-me. Hang on a second: NO!! Is the judge mad??!!


*'em. This is what happens when you let chavs run riot and do nothing about it. If you want to see a good example then film what happens outside the shops where Powis Avenue meets Upper Church Lane, Tipton. I have contacts there and they say it's like the wild west: chavs running riot and the police station closed. Oh but what a deterrent.. carry a loaded weapon and you might..might have a ticking off from a judge. Then it's back home to get ready for the next night's rampage. Tough talk (and curfews, Sandwell Council), mean zip when you have a minority of people that can and do act above the law. The system doesn't care.

Johnny Mac62

Had Mrs Bassi taken a base ball bat to this thug in order to protect her property and her young daughter we of course know exactly what would happen. She would be arrested for GBH and have a prison sentence hanging over her head.

As it stands this "poor young man" who has taken the wrong path in life points a live armed gun in her face in order to rob her, gets sympathy from a completely out of touch Judge and who quite frankly should be removed with immediate effect from his job. British Justice!!! Really!!

What an absolute disgrace. I despair I really do. Of course if this judge was on the receiving end of such violence this thug would be locked up so why "your honour" hasn't this thug been put away? The answers easy, you have no idea what the hell your doing, you lack any kind of life experience and find it difficult to differentiate between the life style of every day man and your own life style which are obviously miles apart. You Sir have let both the Police and the general public down very badly.

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