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Have-a-go hero foiled robbery

PUBLISHED: 09:44 08 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:59 22 October 2010

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM

A have-a-go hero who helped foil the robbery of a woman who had just collected her mother's pension was yesterday awarded £400 from public funds for his bravery.

A have-a-go hero who helped foil the robbery of a woman who had just collected her mother's pension was yesterday awarded £400 from public funds for his bravery.

Rolf Budd, 41, tackled Minnie Boy Lee who had just grabbed a bag from Jane Taylor containing £279 in cash, Norwich Crown Court heard.

He was about to make his getaway in a car driven by his accomplice, Shanny Smith, when Mr Budd heard Mrs Taylor's cries for help after the robbery on Aylsham Road, Norwich.

He tackled Lee and the victim was able to grab back her mother's pension money, despite Lee threatening Mr Budd.

Lee then managed to get into the getaway car, but quick-thinking Mr Budd took a note of the car's registration number and both men were later arrested.

Judge Peter Jacobs praised Mr Budd's courage, pointing out that he did not know what dangers he might have faced when he stopped Lee.

"He did not know if the defendant had a weapon, he did not know his mental state; it takes a lot of courage to tackle a defendant in this way," he said.

"The robbery was foiled. The old lady did not lose her pension and these two defendants were brought to book."

Lee, 28, of the Mile Cross Travellers Site, Norwich, and Smith, of Roundwell Travellers' Site, Costessey, near Norwich, both admitted the robbery on October 29 last year.

Lee also admitted an aggravated vehicle taking on October 30 last year, when he drove off in a police car after he was arrested and caused £2,300 of damage to it.

The court heard both defendants had bad records, with Smith having a previous conviction for robbery. Lee was on early release from a four-year sentence for a drugs offence when he committed the robbery.

Lee was jailed for a total of 30 months, to run consecutively when his previous sentence ends in July next year. He was also banned from driving for two years.

Smith was sent to prison for two years, nine months.

Greg Perrins, for Lee, said: "It was a spur of the moment opportunist offence."

He told the court it was Lee's drug addiction that lay behind the robbery and he was on early release from a four-year sentence when he fell back into his drug misuse. "It was motivated by the need by Lee to obtain money to buy drugs."

Mr Perrins said since Lee had been on remand at Norwich prison he had found it tough when other inmates found out he had robbed a woman of pension money, and he had since been transferred to Bedford.

"He's had a very difficult time in prison."

David Baird, for Smith, said his involvement was not until the end of the incident.

"He's expressed genuine remorse, he realises what a horrible crime it was," said Mr Baird.


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