Published: 12:24, 22 May 2009
| Updated: 12:55, 22 May 2009
Three thugs who raided a village store, threatening the terrified owner with an axe, have each been jailed for four years.
Martin Price, 27. Jason Swallow, 23, and Darren James, 23, fled with just over £1,000 from the post office in High Halstow but were arrested soon afterwards.
Price, of Castle Road, Chatham, Swallow, of Darnley Road, Strood, and James of Stanhope Road, Strood, admitted robbery and other offences to “wipe the slate clean.”
Maidstone Crown Court heard Derek Baker was counting takings in a back room at the store in Christmas Lane on October 27 last year when James and Swallow walked in.
Patricia Evanson, who was working behind the counter, managed to press the panic button.
Jonathan Ingram, prosecuting, said James was wearing a camouflage jacket and had his face covered. Swallow kept watch at the door, while Price was the getaway driver.
Holding the weapon above his head, James shouted: “Give me the money or I will axe you.”
Fearing for his safety Mr Baker handed over a cash box containing £1,099. They left and Mr Baker saw them get into a car and drive off.
They headed for Shepherds Way where they transferred to a 4x4 Range Rover with a fourth man driving. It was stopped by police and the robber were arrested with the cash box. Mr Ingram said James and others had three days earlier robbed a mini-mart in Allhallows of £400 and attempted to rob a store in Hoo where a metal pole was brandished.
Swallow asked for other offences mostly involving thefts to be considered and Price, who has 111 offences on his record, was to be sentenced for three burglaries.
Judge Philip St John-Stevens said the court viewed robberies at vulnerable targets very seriously. A degree of planning was used to raid the store in High Halstow.
“The person in the shop didn’t know if you were going to use the weapon or not,” he said.