Drug addict jailed for robbery - Hemel Hempstead

23/02/2017

A drug addict was jailed for four and a half years today, Thursday, 23 February 2017, for robbing the Hemel Hempstead pharmacy where he had been a customer for the past two years.

Nelson Loveridge disguised himself and threatened staff with a knife at Nash Chemists in Long Chaulden before escaping with drugs, including methadone. He was tracked by the police shortly afterwards and led them on a 100 mph chase before crashing, Luton Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Tim Nutley said three members of staff were in the shop, which had just closed, at 6pm on Wednesday, 15 June last year, when Loveridge entered. "He brandished the knife and said: "Do what I say and no-one will get hurt." He insisted that the drugs cupboard was opened, and rummaged through boxes, putting drugs into a bag.

Although he was disguised, staff recognised Loveridge's voice as someone who had been a customer for the past two years. They called the police, who were able to track Loveridge through the Buddy ankle tag he was wearing from a previous offence.

Officers drove to a field entrance at Brownlow Farm, Pounchen End Lane, Hemel, where they saw Loveridge behind the wheel of a silver Peugeot. He sped off when he saw the police, going the wrong way past a keep left sign and passing through three red lights. On the A41 he reached 100 miles per hour, before leaving the road at the Chesham turn and crashing into a hedge. Loveridge was arrested and several packets of medication were found in the footwell of the car.

Loveridge, aged 26, of Honeycross Road, Hemel, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to robbery, possessing a bladed article, driving whilst disqualified, and having no insurance. He was in breach of a 12-month suspended sentence, imposed last May, for attempted burglary. Neighbours of a property in Long Chaulden, where the occupants were away, heard noises and called the police. An officer arrived with a dog, which found Loveridge, who had tools used in burglary in his possession.

Jason Cross, defending, said Loveridge pleaded guilty to the offences as he always did.

Judge Philip Bartle QC jailed Loveridge for a total of four and a half years and disqualified him from driving for 3-years to start on his release from prison. He said: "I accept your drug addiction is at the heart of what occurred. Appalling offences were committed that day. It would have been a terrifying experience for the people in the shop."

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