Ten years each for shop terror raiders
Two men involved in a four-day spate of violent armed robberies at convenience stores in the West Midlands and Staffordshire have been jailed for a total of more than 20 years.
Edwin Poole, 27, used a crowbar wrapped in a bin liner to bludgeon shop staff, while Darren Morris, 37, stole cigarettes, alcohol and, a till, a judge heard.
Thousands of pounds of goods and cash were stolen during the January 17-20 spree, fuelled by drink and drugs, at Price Busters in Short Heath Road, Erdington; Yardley Newsagents in Church Road, Nisa in Lichfield Road, Rushall, and Muckley Corner Service Station, Lichfield.
Three shopkeepers were badly hurt by Poole, whose partner Jane Pye, acted as the BMW getaway driver on three of the raids, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
Mr Rathakrishnan Gopalarkishnan needed 14 stitches in head wounds after being repeatedly battered over the head with such force a silver ring on a hand he raised to protect himself was bent out of shape, after the robbers struck at Price Busters in Short Heath Road, Erdington at around 10pm on January 17.
"The attack continued as he attempted to crawl to safety and feared for his life," said Mr Timothy Sapwell, prosecuting.
The hooded crooks fled with cigarettes and alcohol worth hundreds of pounds just two hours after a carbon copy offence at Yardley Newsagents in Church Road, Yardley during which its owner Mr Nagarasa Sasikaran was savagely attacked with the fake gun. Both shops were reconnoitred by 45-year-old Pye minutes before the robberies.
Next they struck at the Nisa store in Lichfield Road, Rushall on January 19, terrifying its owner Ms Harpreet Kaur Chungh and a customer, Ms Donna Stevenson, who feared they were about to be shot as Poole and Morris escaped with an estimated £500 worth of cigarettes and a mobile phone later recovered when the men were arrested.
Next day they raided Muckley Corner Service Station in Lichfield where shop assistant Mr Mohammed Arshad was battered over the head as they got away with another £500 haul. Soon afterwards Morris struck alone at the BP Service Station in Chester Road, Chelmsley Wood but was run over by a car - probably deliberately - while escaping, losing a cap and shoe which led to his arrest.
Morris and Poole also stole £100 worth of goods from BP Express in Penn Lane, Wylde Green shortly late on January 20, four hours before they and Pye were arrested in her BMW outside the address in Heathmere Drive, Solihull where she and Poole were living. A mobile and other items stolen during the raids were found in a bedroom along with tell tale photos.
Mr Simon Hunka, defending, said Pye turned to drink and drugs when she lost her father and began living with convicted criminal Poole . She recruited Morris of Carters Road, Hockley, by texting: "My fella needs side kick for job."
All three admitted armed robbery. The two men further pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm and theft. Poole was jailed for 10-and-a-half years, Morris for 10 years and Pye for six years.
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