Armed thugs jailed after raids on convenience shops
Armed robbers who raided two convenience stores in seven days have each been jailed for three years nine months.
Brett Spittle and Richard Whittaker struck first at the One Stop Store in Commonside, Pensnett, where they had been regular customers, on August 4, a judge was told.
The manager had seen the pair in the shop earlier in the day and recognised them when they returned later – this time with their faces covered by either a scarf or bandana.
Spittle, aged 34, and 35-year-old Whittaker, armed respectively with a crowbar and garden trowel, threatened staff and jumped over the service counter.
The former opened the till and took out the tray while his accomplice grabbed an unspecified amount of tobacco products, explained Mr Stuart Clarkson, prosecuting.
The pair fled with £120 cash before staging a carbon copy robbery at the Tesco Express in Pensnett High Street on August 11. They were armed with the same, or similar weapons, and took £650 from the till and more tobacco.
A police officer in the area heard of the raid and realised the technique used by the culprits had been deployed by Whittaker previously and was waiting at his address when the robber came home with some of the raid’s haul, continued Mr Clarkson. Spittle was arrested the following day after a failed bid to escape.
The two men were on bail at the time after being caught on CCTV using a stolen credit card to buy almost £71 worth of goods from three shops within 20 minutes before further purchases were refused at another store.
The card had been stolen when Whittaker snatched the handbag of the woman in her mid 50s as she walked past the attacker and Spittle in Bromley Lane, Kingswinford, on April 16. The two men fled in opposite directions but were using her credit card less than 15 minutes later, the court heard.
Both defendants had been long term addicts and each was under the effects of drugs when the robberies took place, it was said. Spittle, from Queen Street, Pensnett, had previous convictions involving 113 separate offences and was ‘not thinking straight,’ said Mr Gurdeep Garcha, defending, who continued: “No actual violence was inflicted on any of the staff.”
Miss Samantha Powis, representing Whittaker of Tiled House Lane, Pensnett, explained he had been addicted to Class A drugs since the age of 11, leaving his life in ruins but was now trying to kick the habit.
The two defendants each admitted robbing the two stores and four charges of fraud by false representation. Whittaker further pleaded guilty to the robbery of the woman’s handbag.