Metal store

Masked thieves who terrorized Sunderland store workers with locked screwdrivers

Two robbers who pushed store workers while armed with screwdrivers have been put behind bars.

Sean Humphrey, 30, and Phillip Padgett, 28, wore face masks and had their balaclavas up when they targeted J&H Local in Sunderland. Newcastle Crown Court heard how they shoved two staff and shouted ‘open the till’ before stealing £153.83 worth of alcohol.

Phillip Morley, prosecuting, told the court how one of the frightened employees believed throughout the ordeal that she was being threatened with a knife. In a victim impact statement, read out in court by Mr Morley, she said: “This incident was terrifying and I was scared and scared. I don’t expect this kind of thing to happen when I come I’m normally happy and excited to come to work, but it left me feeling violated and worried about coming to work in the future.”

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Newcastle Court heard the owners had to close the New Silksworth store following the robbery on March 24 this year. Mr Morley said: ‘The store said it lost around £2,000 in revenue as a result of the incident.’

The prosecutor said the two men were arrested together at a house in the Silksworth area of ​​the city. He said: ‘The defendants were interviewed shortly after the incident. They were both interviewed and during their interview did not comment on any issues.’

After watching CCTV footage in court, recorder Mark Giuliani pointed out that two children could be seen walking out of the store at the time. He said: “In my opinion, they are clearly scared by what is happening and they are walking out of the store in fear.”



Local J&H in Sunderland

Humphrey, of Blind Lane, New Silksworth, Sunderland and Padgett, of Tatham Street, central Sunderland, both pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery. Both defendants appeared in the courtroom on Friday afternoon via video link from jail.

Glen Gatland, defending Humphrey, told the court: “Sean Humphrey is truly sorry for what happened, he is remorseful. He accepts full responsibility, which is why there was a guilty plea. stated at the very first opportunity – because he wanted any witness to know that they weren’t going to have to come to court and testify and that’s something he personally expressed at a conference. “

Mr Gatland told the court how Humphrey previously had a well-paid job as a sheet metal worker and would earn between £500 and £700 a week. He said he lost the job when Covid-19 hit and struggled to pay his expenses.

His lawyer said losing his job also caused problems in his relationship as he was on leave and had no money. He said: “That relationship ended and then he resorted to mostly alcohol but even a little bit to drugs, due to the depression he was suffering from. He was having suicidal thoughts.”



Sean Humphrey was jailed for 36 months
Sean Humphrey was jailed for 36 months

Mr Gatland said his client committed the offense in order to obtain alcohol he could not afford. He said he was a man who, through no fault of his own, lost his job, became depressed, started drinking excessively and behaved completely out of character.

Tony Cornberg, defending Padgett, told the court how his client took diazepam before the flight. He said: “It was a plan concocted five minutes before it was to be executed. The reason for committing the offense was mainly to get more diazepam.”

Mr Cornberg said Padgett also lost his job during the pandemic and his grandmother died. He told the court: “He describes the depression that followed, he ended up being ill. He is someone who has worked solidly for 10 years.”

His attorney said Padgett ended up living in a hostel, things got out of hand, and he started drinking alcohol and taking diazepam.



Phillip Padgett was sentenced to 32 months in prison
Phillip Padgett was sentenced to 32 months in prison

Recorder Giuliani told the court he believed the face masks were not used by the defendants to protect others from infection but to disguise themselves, along with their balaclavas which had been pulled up.

He said: “Mr. Humphrey, you were indeed addicted to alcohol and consumed large amounts of alcohol and you, Mr. Padgett, were indeed addicted to diazepam and consumed large amounts of diazepam.

“I am satisfied after watching the CCTV that each of you were trying to mask your appearance. Inside the store were a number of staff and customers, including two young children.”

Recorder Giuliani said he was fine with them having screwdrivers, but the female staff member thought she was being threatened with a knife. He said: “She was clearly scared and thought she would be hurt.”

He sentenced Humphrey to three years behind bars, and Padgett was jailed for two years and eight months.

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