Shropshire Star

'Amateurish failure': Pair jailed after stealing Audi at knifepoint and trying to rob KFC

Two men who stole an Audi at knifepoint and then failed in an attempt to rob a KFC restaurant have been locked up.

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Telford Justice Centre / Telford Magistrates Court stock

Steven Easthope, 29, of Willowfield, Telford, and Frank Ivors, 48, of Warrensway, Telford, were each jailed for 54 months at Shrewsbury Crown Court, sitting at Telford Magistrates Court.

The pair, who were on remand awaiting sentencing, had been involved in a series of offences late on the evening of September 7, 2021.

They had both been at the BP Garage in Woodside, Telford, at around 11pm when a man had pulled up in an Audi to fill up with petrol.

As he returned to his car after paying for fuel the man was approached by the pair, who were drunk and wearing hoods, and told in offensive terms "you are giving us a lift".

Philip Beardwell, prosecuting, said that when he refused, Easthope produced a bread knife and told the man he would kill him if he did not give him his wallet.

The victim handed over his wallet and was told that the contents 'were not enough', and to give up the keys to his car.

He gave the keys to Ivors, who got in the car but was unable to start the vehicle.

Fearful of being attacked, the owner of the car told him how to start it, and Ivors and Easthope sped away from the scene towards the Madeley Court Hotel.

The pair were then seen in Woodside by locals, who described them removing a dog cage from the back of the car.

Then, around 45 minutes later, the pair drove to KFC in Madeley where Easthope went inside the restaurant and brandished the knife at the cashier and said: "Get the money out of the till or I will stab you."

The cashier responded by saying that he was working for minimum wage and he did not care what happened to him, and would not be handing over the money.

He added that he had already pressed the panic button and the police were on the way.

Easthope then left the building and Ivors, who had no licence or insurance, drove them towards Ironbridge Road where they were stopped by police and arrested.

Ivors was found to have 55 millilitres of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35.

Both gave no comment interviews to the police.

The court heard statements from both victims, with the first saying: "Being threatened at knifepoint was the most horrifically scary experience of my life."

Judge Julian Taylor was told the experience had left the victim traumatised and he had to move out to stay with family while he recovered.

Mr Beardwell added that the man had sold the car due to the experience, had required six weeks off work, and was now panicked by hooded men late at night.

Mitigating Niall Skinner, for Easthope, said he accepted his part in the incidents, adding there was an "element of complete amateurish failure in these offences".

Rob Edwards, mitigating for Ivors, said he had pleaded guilty to the offences and expressed genuine remorse, which had been accepted by the court.

He added: "He has excellent insight into his offending."

Sentencing Judge Taylor said: "These were serious matters, you were drunk and the pair of you had taken some form of substance."

He added that they had been "very traumatic circumstances" for both victims and told Easthope that it was only because the KFC worker had stood up to him that the second robbery had not been successful.

He added that both were equally culpable and "should get the same sentence".

Both had admitted charges of robbery, attempted robbery, and possession of a bladed article.

Ivors was also disqualified from driving for 12 months – extended to 27 months to take into account his prison sentence.

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