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Knife-point robbers Shaun Chalmers, Harry Lugg and Ben Atthis stole 14-year-old's iPhone XR and forced him to log out of iCloud during nine-month crime spree in Canterbury and Dover

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“Cowardly” robbers who attacked victims from behind and threatened to stab a teenage boy during a crime spree have been jailed.

Shaun Chalmers, 23, also a sex offender, was sentenced in absence while on the run from police.

Shaun Chalmers, no fixed abode, has been jailed for five years
Shaun Chalmers, no fixed abode, has been jailed for five years

One victim, aged 14, was told his face would be “sliced open” during a knife-point robbery in Canterbury, during the nine-month crime spree.

The trio have now been jailed for more than 17 years, with ringleader Harry Lugg, who was sentenced for two further robberies, to be held for nine years.

Judge Simon James called the gang “cowardly and mean” after hearing how they drew up behind vulnerable, defenceless victims in public.

Lugg robbed and terrorised a 14-year-old boy with a knife in Burgate Street, Canterbury in March 2020, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

“This was a violent knife-point robbery of the victim’s hat.

“Lugg punched him in the face, chased him and sliced his jacket, punched him several times and cut his bag off him before leaving with his hat,” prosecutor Siobhan Molloy explained.

Harry Lugg, 23, from Dover, has been jailed for nine years
Harry Lugg, 23, from Dover, has been jailed for nine years

Still at large, Lugg and another man hunted a teenager in Aylesham by jumping him from behind and stealing his bag then fleeing in September 2020.

“The victim says he was hit with some kind of object, possibly a brick,” Ms Molloy said.

Just days after he, alongside Chalmers, Ben Atthis, 34, and another male, would go on to stalk one drunk and debilitated man throughout Dover town centre late at night.

Anthony Ridge had left the Lava Lounge and was walking towards Market Square when he was set upon from behind.

CCTV played in court showed the gang circling Mr Ridge for a number of minutes, even speaking with him as he stumbled.

Lugg could be seen creeping behind Mr Ridge, punching him unconscious and leaving a wound to his head and a tooth displaced. Chalmers could then be seen raiding his pockets before the thugs fled.

All four were soon recorded at a nearby petrol station fraudulently using Mr Ridge’s bank card to empty his account.

The next morning Lugg, Chalmers and Atthis would target a 14-year-old boy for his iPhone XR, even ordering him to logout of iCloud just metres from passersby.

The court heard Lugg told the youngster "walk with me" as Atthis and Chalmers ran to catch up.

He then grabbed the boy around the throat and said: “You better give all your **** to me right now,” with another gang member adding: “Or I’ll slice you”.

With the gang surrounding him, the boy was then told “I’m going to slice your face open” if he didn’t hand over his pin and sign out of iCloud.

Ben Atthis, 34, from Basildon, has been jailed for three years and nine months
Ben Atthis, 34, from Basildon, has been jailed for three years and nine months

Lugg, who has 23 convictions for 45 offences, pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery, unlawful wounding, fraud by false representation and two counts of assaulting an emergency worker at a previous hearing.

He kicked one officer and sunk his teeth into another while being arrested in Hastings in 2019, the court heard.

Joseph Bond, mitigating, said Lugg is immature for his age and intent on changing his ways.

Lugg believes he was “set up to fail” after being housed in Dover, where he experienced past conflict, following a previous prison release Mr Bond added.

Chalmers, who has 18 convictions for 32 offences, was convicted of theft and fraud, robbery, wounding and failing to comply with notification requirements.

Police are still hunting Chalmers who is believed to have connections with North, Mid and Southern England.

In his absence his lawyer William McBarnet said: “He is of course, still a relatively young man.

“It seems he doesn’t have a previous conviction for robbery of any kind and the violence seems to be something that is out of character.”

No further details of his previous sexual offending were disclosed in court.

Atthis, who has 21 convictions for 57 offences, was convicted of fraud by false representation, unlawful wounding, robbery and obstructing the police.

His lawyer Christopher Martin said his client denies threatening to cut his victim and has himself become the victim of knife crime while on remand.

Lugg, previously of Stembrook, Dover, was jailed for nine years.

Chalmers, registered as no fixed abode, was jailed for five years.

Atthis, previously of Basildon, was jailed for three years and nine months.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

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