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Joseph Hilden, Kieran Caton and Sam Mills sentenced after robbing Co-op while high on LSD

A rampaging gang high on LSD and wielding knives robbed a convenience store before smashing a whisky bottle into a paperboy’s face and stealing bike.

Ringleader Joseph Hilden, Kieran Caton and Sam Mills, all 18, have now been sentenced after the two robberies, carried out within minutes of each other near Ashford.

Joseph Hilden
Joseph Hilden

Clad in a balaclava and black clothes, Hilden pulled the kitchen knife from his waistband screaming “give me the money” in Co-Op, Faversham Road, Kennington.

But shop worker Noella Jarvis hid the cash behind her back prompting Hilden to jump over the counter searching for loot.

Empty-handed Hilden then snatched a bottle of whisky after failing to open the cash drawer and bolted for the door, as his accomplices waited outside.

That bottle would soon be cracked over a teenage paperboy’s head in a getaway attempt, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

Meanwhile CCTV evidence played in court showed Hilden drawing the blade and threatening to stab store manager Tom Rowe and customer Paul Spencer, who tried apprehending him.

Kieran Caton
Kieran Caton

The thug fled but returned seconds later unleashing further threats in what Judge Rupert Lowe called “dangerous and disturbing bravado.”

High following an LSD binge, the trio then trained their sights on a paperboy’s bike to aid their escape.

Hilden then threatened to stab the boy before swiftly attacking him with the bottle, prosecutor Mark Halfey told the court.

All three, who were 17 at the time of the offences, were arrested the next day after being identified on CCTV, Mr Halfey said.

Judge Lowe told Hilden he was deemed "dangerous" following a psychiatric report.

“I fear you are a person at the present who doesn’t know how to care for the misery you cause to others.”

A psychiatric report branded the criminal as having a “disarming candour” after Hilden spoke of his life of crime.

He told doctor Hussain he bit off part of an inmate’s ear since his arrest, admitted burning some girls with cigarettes, beating them, and once stabbed a passer-by because he was “upset about something else.”

When the doctor asked about his most recent crime-spree Hilden replied: “I wish I had never done it, I should have picked another shop to get more money,” the court heard.

The court heard the gang’s victims were left shaken and fearing for their safety after the robberies on February 26.

Mitigating, Caton’s barrister Nicholas Hamblin argued his client did not enter the shop or make threats and is turning around his life after becoming a father.

Mills’ barrister Ben Irwin said his client suffered un-diagnosed learning disabilities, was of previous good character and was working with a number of youth teams.

Phil Rowley, for Hilden, said his client previously lived a chaotic lifestyle but has begun changing his ways and addressing the cause of his behaviour whilein custody.

Hilden, of Bredgar Close in Ashford, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit robbery, two robberies and possession of a bladed article at the earliest opportunity.

He was sentenced to five years and three on extended licence.

Caton, of King Street in Gillingham, pleaded guilty to robbery, theft and possession of a knife on the day of trial and was received three years and six months.

They will serve their sentences inside a Young Offenders’ Institute.

Mills, of Tennyson Road, Ashford, pleaded guilty to two robberies and possessing a knife at the earliest opportunity.

He got 16 months suspended for 18 months, and handed 200 hours unpaid work alongside a 20 day rehabilitation order.

During the hearing Caton remained tranquil, however, Judge Lowe scalded Mills and Hilden for gesturing.

“It’s like watching a primary school in action, but a very dangerous one because they arm themselves with knives,” he said.

Hilden has 29 convictions covering robbery, possessing offensive weapons and causing Actual Bodily Harm.

Caton, has 34 convictions including dishonesty, vehicle taking, burglary, violence and causing Actual Bodily Harm.

Mills was of previous good character.

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