Man jailed for two and a half years for armed robbery - St Albans

08/02/2013

Armed robber Leon Hoyes spent the £50 he snatched from the till at an Abbots Langley newsagents on a hair cut and some food.

Hoyes, 20, had been identified easily from the CCTV at Martin's Newsagents in the High Street because he was not wearing any disguise. When the police arrived at his home on the same day he admitted the raid.

Prosecutor David Chrimes told St Albans crown court on Friday  8 February 2013, that half an hour before the robbery Hoyes had gone into the shop with his mother and siblings and saw that there were two women staff on duty.

He returned at 10am and picked up a packet of Chewits and the Sun newspaper. "He handed over a £10 note and when the till was opened pulled out a kitchen knife and said: 'Give me the money.'

"The member of staff recoiled back and he reached over, grabbed cash and left the store. It is believed he had taken about £50," said Mr Chrimes.

The police quickly identified Hoyes and went to his home and arrested him. On the way to the police station he told them he had discarded the knife, which he had taken from the family's kitchen drawer, and said he had spent the money on food and a haircut. When he was interviewed he made a full admission.

Hoyes, of Long Elms, Abbots Langley pleaded guilty to robbery and having a kitchen knife on 11 December last year. He had previous convictions for offences of burglary, drugs and making a bomb hoax. He was released from his last sentence in May.

David Smithet, defending, said: "He wanted to be caught. It is a sad situation. He went to be caught. He feels secure in prison.  He is now a father and has a responsibility towards other people."

Jailing him for two and half years, Judge Stephen Gullick said: "The victims in this case were vulnerable. Newsagents provide essential services to the local community."

The judge told Hoyes he would have received a 4 year sentence had he pleaded not guilty and had been convicted after a trial.  He said he gave him full credit for his early guilty plea saying: "If you keep committing offences of this type you will go to prison for longer."

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