Shropshire Star

Jailed: Armed brothers fired shotgun in Telford corner shop robbery horror

Two gun-toting brothers who committed a "terrifying" robbery at a corner shop have been jailed for 12 years each.

Last updated
Christopher, left, and Matthew Reece

Christopher and Matthew Reece burst into Spar in Leegomery, Telford, threatening customers and staff. Christopher Reece dragged one member of staff by her hair, held her at gunpoint and demanded she open a safe, before blasting a hole in a wall.

Shrewsbury Crown Court was told how the pair carried out a reconnaissance of the shop at the Leegomery Centre, off Pool Farm Avenue, on October 8, 2021, before returning with their weapons in broad daylight at around 8am on October 21.

During their "amateurish" robbery, Matthew Reece, aged 41, wore the same outfit as when he scoped the shop out, and witnesses said the pair appeared to be on drugs.

They arrived on bicycles with their faces covered. They yelled "get on the floor!" to customers. First they tried to get cash from the till, but when they found there was only a small amount, demanded to be let into the safe.

The brothers then went to the back office to get to the safe. A young female staff member, who had recently been promoted to supervisor, did not have the codes for the safe and was trying to find them so the men would take what they wanted and leave.

But Christopher Reece, aged 36, held a gun to her head and said if she did not open the safe in 30 seconds, he would kill her, before firing the weapon into a wall. Expert analysis of the pellets showed the gun was likely to have been a 0.410 calibre shotgun.

One member of staff managed to escape and the police were called. After a 14-minute ordeal at the hands of the brothers, the duo fled on their push bikes, taking £842 in cash and £385 worth of cigarettes.

Armed police were on the scene at Spar in Leegomery

In one member of staff's victim impact statement, she said the episode "has ruined me", that she can "feel them breathing" on her and she sees them in her nightmares. Several staff members had to have significant time off work and one left the shop.

Some customers have stayed away since, and Spar said they have lost a significant amount of money due to being closed while police investigated, beefing up security and giving traumatised staff full pay while they were unable to work.

The brothers, both of Church Street, Hadley, Telford, were both previously found guilty after trial of robbery and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The court heard both brothers have a string of previous convictions and have had issues with drugs.

As Judge Anthony Lowe sentenced the pair, they could be heard shouting and swearing in the dock. They were taken down before they could hear how long they will be in jail.

Detective Inspector Sean Brennan, from Telford’s Proactive CID team, said: “Matthew and Christopher Reece are clearly violent and dangerous individuals who went into a busy convenience store first thing on a weekday morning both armed with a shotguns.

"They threatened customers and staff and caused even more fear by using one of the shotguns; while no-one was injured by the gunshot the consequences could have been far worse and those in the store at the time have quite understandably been left traumatised by the robbery.

“I’m pleased with the significant sentence that has been given today and am pleased that the pair are behind bars where they cannot cause more harm to our communities.”