Robbery team getaway driver jailed - Hemel Hempstead


A getaway driver, who was part of a robbery team that struck at a Corals bookmakers in Hemel Hempstead, was jailed for four years today, Wednesday, 12 November 2014.

Ryan Higgins, aged 22, was waiting in his car outside the shop in London Road while two accomplices wearing balaclavas went in with a firearm. In the hold-up, the robbers were forced to flee empty handed, but after Higgins sped away, witnesses were able to give police a description of the car.

St Albans Crown Court heard today that police officers were able to use ANPR cameras to get a fix on the car as well as its registration plate. The vehicle was found burnt out two days later in Watford, but it was traced back to Higgins, and he was arrested.

Sarah Porter, prosecuting, said police were also able to examine a mobile phone connected to him and were able to establish through cell site evidence that he had been in the area of the betting shop along with the vehicle at the time of the hold-up.

Higgins, of Cowper Court, Watford, pleaded guilty to one offence of attempted robbery.

The court heard it happened on the morning of 09 September 2013, when two masked men entered the shop. A gun that one of them was wielding was pointed through the grill at the manager, who was told: "Give us the money or I'll blow your head off." The manager didn't hand over a penny, forcing the robbers to retreat empty handed out of the shop and make their way to where Higgins was waiting in his car.

Judge Stephen Gullick, hearing the case, was told the two robbers who entered the shop have never been found.

Miss Porter said that earlier this year Higgins was jailed for 26 months for kidnapping a former partner, assaulting her occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) and harassment.

Today Richard Storey, defending, said the attempted robbery had been "unsophisticated and amateurish" and the gun had been an imitation one. He said Higgins was about to become a father for the first time and now wanted to get his prison sentence over as quickly as possible so that he could live a law abiding life.

Judge Gullick jailed him for four years, ordering the sentence to run consecutively to the 26 months he is presently serving. He told Higgins: "You were one of a team of three determined to go to the betting shop and obtain money. You were the driver and party to an agreement that the shop should be robbed at gunpoint."

The judge said betting shop employees could expect to receive the protection of the courts from individuals such as Higgins, who saw them as easy targets. He said: "I have no doubt you knew perfectly well what was going to happen and expected to receive some of the proceeds."

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