Norwich shopkeeper hits out at robber’s three year sentence
08:36 23 April 2014
A flurry of recent robberies has left staff and owners of Norfolk’s network of small shops feeling “vulnerable”, a retail chief warned.
The warning came as Darryl Hindley was given a three year custodial sentence after threatening female members of staff with a weapon during a raid at the Earlham Shopper in West Earlham, near Norwich, on January 9.
It was the latest of a clutch of shop robberies that have heightened fear across the city and county, among staff who are “uniquely exposed to the public”.
After the sentencing at Norwich Crown Court, shop owner Nigel Dowdney, the East Anglian spokesman for the Association of Convenience Stores, said the three-year term was “unbelievable”.
Hindley, 20, of no fixed abode but who had lived in Beecheno Road, Norwich, previously admitted the robbery. He was also dealt with for a burglary at the UEA in 2008, which he admitted, and asked for six other matters to be taken into consideration.
Mr Dowdney, 60, said: “I don’t think a three year sentence is really very much punishment for what he did to me or my staff.
“We do everything we can to train our staff in how to behave if something like this happens, have extensive CCTV and everything but we’re open very early in the morning and late at night.
“We do as much as we can to reduce the dangers but, unfortunately, there is a vulnerability there and I think it’s the duty of the courts to reflect that someone has taken advantage of a vulnerability which is very hard to overcome.
“He stole two bottles of vodka and 40 cigarettes. The threat of wielding a weapon in front of vulnerable girls for such a small value amount is... I find it unbelievable, to be quite honest, that he’s got away with it so lightly.”
Mr Dowdney said the offence, which happened 10 days before a second, separate robbery at the same store, was an example of the dangers many shop owners and their staff faced.
Sentencing Hindley, Judge Katharine Moore that the two assistants were so frightened by the robbery, during which Hindley waved the metal implement around, that they had been left “scared at home and scared at work”.
Stephen Spence, prosecuting, said Hindley, who has 33 offences on his record, entered the shop shortly after it had been opened up and went into a staff area behind the till where cigarettes and alcohol were kept.
Mr Spence said the assistants saw Hindley with a weapon in his hand and were scared for their safety.
Hindley was recognised on CCTV by a police officer and arrested.
Jonathan Goodman, mitigating, said Hindley, “from about 13” had been a real “nuisance” to “the community, his family and himself” which was borne out by his record.
Mr Goodman said: “Engaging in drink and dabbling in recreational drugs, quite frankly, being feral had been Darryl Hindley’s life.”
But Mr Goodman said the court and defendant’s family must hope “this is the end of the line for Darryl Hindley’s criminal career”.