Men who threatened Great Yarmouth shopkeeper with screwdriver are jailed

A judge warned that the courts had a duty to protect shop workers after he jailed two men who threatened a Great Yarmouth shopkeeper with a screwdriver during a robbery.

Brendan Burt 31, and Gary Brown, held up Yarmouth Pet Stores, in the Victoria Arcade, in Great Yarmouth, and Burt, who was wearing a baseball cap and scarf to cover his face, threatened the owner with a screwdriver, before the pair escaped with about £30 to £40 from the till, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Burt, who had only just been released from prison, then held up Ladbrokes bookmakers in Gorleston High Street just four days later. Lori Tucker prosecuting, said that Burt had produced a knife and demanded staff hand over cash before escaping with £316.

She said the two men were arrested and CCTV showed both the men acting suspiciously earlier in the day near the pet shop.

In an impact statement she said the owner of the pet shop said he thought the robbery as a 'joke' but then realised that it was in fact a hold up.

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'He does not recollect a great deal as he was in shock.'

She added: 'He thought it was a prank. It soon became apparent that it was not.'

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She said that Burt was the one holding the screwdriver and Brown, who was not wearing any kind of disguise had just been behind him keeping a lookout.

Mrs Tucker said that the second robbery was carried out by Burt alone and she said he had gone into the bookmakers at lunchtime and produced the knife asking the woman cashier to give him the money.

The cashier remembers seeing a knife and after he took a bundle of notes and cash from the till he fled after she told him that she saw a police man. Mrs Tucker said that there were other customers in the premises at the time of the hold-up.#

Burt of CoronationTerrace, Great Yarmouth who admitted two robberies was jailed for 45 months and Brown of North Quay, Great Yarmouth was jailed for 32 months for the robbery of the pet store.

Jailing them, Judge Nicholas Coleman said: 'Shopkeepers deserve the protection of these courts and they get protection from these courts. Offences of robbery receive sentences of imprisonment.'

He accepted that drugs lay behind their offending and they had both written letters expressing their remorse and had pleaded guilty.

Jonathan Goodman, for Burt, said that although he had previous offending he had done nothing on this scale before.

He said: 'He now realises the psychological damage he could cause to people going about their normal daily working lives in shops.'

John Morgans, for Brown said that he also was full of remorse and wanted to wipe the slate clean.

He said that he played a lesser role in the robbery and had 'tagged along'

'In his case he wore no disguise. There was no covering of his face.'

He said that Brown had sent a letter of apology to the victim through the police and said:'He is full of remorse and through me he wants to make an aplogoy to the victim for what he did.'

Speaking after the court case, Detective Sergeant Graeme Talbot, who was involved in the investigation, said: 'Burt and Brown terrorised innocent shopkeepers and staff, making threats and stealing amounts of cash incomparable with the fear and distress they caused.

'The custodial sentences they have received today reflect the seriousness of their crimes.

'Such robberies are rare in Norfolk, but thanks to witnesses, CCTV and good work by local officers, they were arrested soon after these offences took place and have been remanded in custody ever since.'

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