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Robbers threatened man with syringe at cashpoint

COLIN SAYER: had been released from jail only a few days before the robbery
COLIN SAYER: had been released from jail only a few days before the robbery
KEVIN THOMAS: pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity
KEVIN THOMAS: pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity

TWO muggers who ambushed a man as he withdrew money from a cashpoint have been jailed for a total of nine years.

Colin Sayer grabbed the victim by the shoulders in Chatham High Street while Kevin Thomas threatened him with a syringe. Fearing for his safety, Matthew Withey handed over £30.

Both Sayer, 37, and Thomas, 24, have a string of previous convictions and, Maidstone Crown Court heard, Sayer had been released from prison only a few days before the street robbery, on February 23.

Jailing Sayer for five years and Thomas for four, Judge Philip Statman told them: “It must have been a most frightening experience. I view this as a very serious offence indeed.”

The robbery was captured on the town centre’s CCTV system. Three men, including Sayer and Thomas, were spotted outside the NatWest bank.

Prosecutor Caroline Knight said the camera followed them and filmed Mr Withey withdrawing his money from the cashpoint before somebody grabbed him by the shoulders from behind. Fearing for his safety Mr Withey handed the money over.

Miss Knight said the CCTV operator alerted the police and continued to follow the men until they were arrested. Thomas, of Castle Road, Chatham, had the money and an empty syringe packet. He told police they were going to use the money to buy crack cocaine.

She said that Sayer, of Cobden Road, Chatham, admitted being at the scene but did not know that Thomas was going to pull out a syringe.

The court heard Thomas had 17 previous convictions relating to 24 offences. These mainly involved shoplifting, public order offences and possession of class A drugs.

Sayer had a record of 42 previous convictions for 72 offences including assaults and robbery.

Thomas received a shorter sentence than Sayer because he was given more credit for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity. Sayer did not admit the robbery until the day his trial was due to start. At the time of the sentencing both men had spent 207 days in custody.

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