Alcohol robber jailed - Luton


A teenage girl working behind the counter at a neighbourhood Co-op store was threatened she would be stabbed with a syringe if she did not hand over two bottles of expensive cognac.

The robber, Simon Shepherd, a heroin addict and alcoholic, was said to have been 'mortified' when he discovered she was only 17. He had intended only to snatch the two bottles of Courvoisier from the store in Birdsfoot Lane, Luton, but had resorted to robbery when she kept hold of them.

Shepherd, aged 37, of Peel Street, Luton had accumulated convictions for 175 previous offences, mainly for shoplifting to fund his addictions, said Judge Michael Kay QC at Luton Crown Court on Friday, 03 July 2015. He pleaded guilty to the robbery which took place in the evening of 13 March this year and was jailed for three years and four months.

Sally Mealing McLeod, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Shepherd had lurked about in the shop until there were no other customers. He asked the assistant for the two bottles, valued at £56, and she put them in a carrier bag and asked for payment. "At that point he produced the hypodermic syringe containing a white substance and said 'give me the bottles, don't make me jump over the counter, otherwise there will be trouble,'"said the prosecutor.

He was arrested four days later.

Donal Lawler, defending said: "Many times before he has asked for alcohol and then grabbed it when it is put on the counter. But this time the assistant was more alert and held on to the bag. He then acted impulsively, but had absolutely no intention of using the syringe. He understands how the assistant must have been shaken up, and was mortified when he found out her age. Things have deteriorated in his life over the last year, and he now wants to use his time in prison to sort himself out so the cycle does not begin again."

Judge Kay said: "This would have been a very frightening experience and the psychological effects can last a long time in a 17-year-old's head. You have lived a life of crime, a life ruined by drugs and alcohol."

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