Man robbed petrol station to pay debt

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

A TEENAGE chef boasted on Facebook that he had just committed a garage robbery.

Ben David Jones, 19, used his mobile phone to post on his Facebook wall that he was on the run as he fled through woods and tried to dodge a police helicopter.

Jones, of Green Lane, Shotton, who had a £300 cocaine debt, handed himself in to police and admitted he had just robbed Ewloe Service Station in Holywell Road, with an imitation firearm – an air weapon.

At Mold Crown Court on Friday he was sentenced to three years youth detention.

The court heard victim Stephen Oultram, 59, who was alone in the shop at the family business, bravely stood up to him.

Mr Oultram refused to hand over cash and there was a confrontation – but Jones struck him to the side of the head with the gun before snatching cash and making off.

Judge Niclas Parry said: “You produced the gun, made threats, demanded money and you struck the proprietor with such force that you caused a laceration to his forehead, his nose and his mouth.”

He added: “The court will do everything it can to protect small businesses, vulnerable but essential to small communities.”

Sandra Subacchi, prosecuting, said the victim was the owner of the Newbridge Service Station in Ewloe, which had been in his family since 1932.

Just after 6.30pm on May 30, he was alone when Jones walked in, turned and put a hood over his head.

Mr Oultram told Jones he would not give him any money voluntarily.

A CCTV film caught Jones going towards him with his hand up and he then struck him forcefully with the weapon. He then reached into the drawer, grabbed some cash believed to be less than £30, and fled.

The victim raised the alarm and noted the registration number of the car.

Police traced the car owner who said he and friends had been asked to give him a lift to the garage. When he returned it was clear something was wrong and he stopped the car and told him to get out when he realised what had happened.

Jones then ran eventually arriving at the Northop Hall country house hotel where he was agitated. He said he was lost and ordered a taxi. He ordered a drink but then left.

Staff became aware of police activity and reported him to police.

Jones, who was arrested shortly after when he went to the police station to give himself up, had also been on Facebook bragging about what he had done, explained Miss Subacchi.

He had put on Facebook that he had committed the robbery and was on the run.
Jones told police he just wanted to get it sorted, he was giving himself up because he had been stupid.

He told how he had buried the cash and the air weapon in woods, on the banks of a river, but despite intensive searches police had not found them.

Jones said he did it because he wanted to pay off a £300 drugs debt as a result of his cocaine addiction. He targeted the garage because he believed security was poor.

Mr Oultram later told how the robbery had a big impact upon him and his family. He was unable to sleep and felt at a low ebb. He looked after his disabled wife and the incident had caused further anxiety. He found himself to be nervous when working in the shop alone.

Simon Rogers, defending, said his client committed the robbery in a moment of madness.

He co-operated fully, pleaded guilty at a very early stage, accepted full responsibility, was very remorseful and appreciated it would have been terrifying for the complainant.

There had been a lack of stability in his young life, he had a drugs debt and had been unable to cope following the loss of a brother to leukaemia.

See full story in the Leader

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