Jailed: Knifeman recognised as he robbed his own local Spar - where he once applied for a job
A man was so desperate for cash to pay his rent that he robbed his local convenience store – where he was known as a customer and had previously applied for a job.
When his victim bravely refused to hand over money, Simon Paul Jones ran out empty-handed – but not before producing a knife to threaten his victim and punch his head a number of times.
Police were soon able to arrest Jones because he was so well known in his home town of Montgomery.
At Mold Crown Court, 25-year-old Jones, of Old Gaol Road, was jailed for four-and-a-half years after he admitted attempting to rob staff member Luke Ridgeway at the town’s Spar on January 2 this year.
He also pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm to PC Andrew Taylor, damaging the £150 wristwatch of Police Community Support Officer Philip Edwards and common assault against the same officer.
Jones’s licence period was extended by two years and he was told he would not be released until he had served two thirds of his sentence.
It turned out that he had two previous robbery convictions going back to 2009.
In one, he snatched a woman’s handbag in the street and in the other he grabbed his victim around the throat in a care home and made off with £90 cash from an office.
Judge David Hale said on this occasion, the defendant was so desperate for money that he decided to rob a local convenience store.
“This is not the sort of place where people are used to this sort of thing happening. Montgomery is a pretty, peaceful little town,” the judge told him.
But Jones went in and attempted to rob a young man behind the counter after producing a knife and threatening him.
The victim bravely resisted the attempts to rob him and Jones punched him a couple of times before running off empty handed.
Such offences were always considered serious because such small stores and the people who worked in them were vulnerable, the judge said.
Emmalyne Downing, prosecuting, said that the defendant was recognised as a customer at the shop – and was someone who had previously asked for a job there.
Police found that Jones had been to the homes of two people and admitted what he had done – and then got a taxi to Welshpool and had gone to a local pub where he was arrested.
In the police station Jones turned violent and struggled with two officers – biting one of them.
Defending barrister Jonathan Austin said Jones had been desperate for money at the time. He was behind with his rent and had been threatened with eviction.
Deputy Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, Darren Davies, said: “In Dyfed-Powys Police we take violent crime extremely seriously, and this is a particularly nasty case. Not only was an innocent member of the public assaulted at work, but also two police officers as they were going about their duties. Nobody should be expected to put up with violence at work.”
Newtown Custody Sergeant, Philip Edwards, said: “Unfortunately, over the 15 years I have worked in custody I have been assaulted more than once. It always leaves me feeling upset – it shouldn’t be part of the job. This time, I was most upset about my watch - a Christmas present from my young children - being broken.”
PC Andrew Taylor, added: “When I saw Sergeant Edwards being attacked I didn’t think twice about helping, but sadly, people don’t seem to consider the impact of their violent behaviour. Because I was bitten I’m now waiting for hospital test results.”
The officer in charge of the investigation, DC Daniel Livermore, said: “Upon viewing the footage of this incident I was shocked and concerned for the welfare of my colleagues, who had been subjected to such violence while in a controlled environment - their workplace.
"As an investigator I see an increased level of assaults on officers, especially those on the front line of policing. All too often officers brush this off as just being part of the job, but this sort of behaviour should not be tolerated and would not be considered acceptable in any other circumstances.”
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