A TEENAGER has been jailed for his part in a robbery at a store in which a gang terrified staff and customers.
Thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes and cash were taken during the raid by five men after they burst into the Sainsbury’s local store on South Parade, Ossett, on May 18 last year.
A court heard five masked men entered the store armed with a sledgehammer and ordered customers to sit on the floor while they forced staff to hand over cash from tills.
A sack was filled with cigarettes before the gang left in a stolen Ford Mondeo which was later found abandoned. Geordan Hopper, 18, was linked to the offence through mobile phone evidence.
Hopper was also responsible for a burglary at a house in Garforth in which the keys to an £8,500 BMW were taken before the vehicle was stolen.
The teenager was also linked to the theft of Skoda which was stolen from a pizza delivery driver.
Hopper’s friend, Simon Maughan, 21, was responsible for the theft of the Mondeo which was used in the robbery.
Police arrested him at The Village Hotel, Tingley, and found him in possession of the stolen BMW and keys to another vehicle which had been stolen from outside a Co-op store in Drighlington.
Hopper, of Acre Crescent, Middleton Leeds, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary and handling stolen goods. He was sent to a young offenders institution for four years.
Maughan, of Cardinal Avenue, Beeston, pleaded guilty to theft and two offences of handling stolen goods. He was locked up for 21 months.
judge Penelope Belcher said: “There was an element of professional planning in this robbery.
“It was a thoroughly unpleasant and frightening incident.”
Det Insp John Dexter, of Leeds District CID, said: “Hopper was involved in a really nasty robbery in which staff and customers were put through a terrifying ordeal. He was arrested and charged as part of an investigation into a wider series of similar robberies at convenience stores.
“Maughan is an associate of Hopper and it is pleasing to see them both brought to justice.
“We hope it will provide some degree of reassurance to the victims and to the wider community to see them face the consequences of their actions.”