Bookies robber released after seeing out jail term awaiting fate in custody

The robbery happened at Ladbrokes in Pakefield Picture: GOOGLE

The robbery happened at Ladbrokes in Pakefield Picture: GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

A former drug addict with an “appalling” criminal record has been told to apply the skills he picked up while in jail awaiting sentence for robbing a bookies.

Sonny Booty had been on remand since first appearing in court last July for robbing Ladbrokes in Pakefield, Lowestoft.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that the 32-year-old, of Rutland Drive, Hornchurch, had since picked up entry level qualifications in maths and painting and decorating, while voluntarily attending a drug rehabilitation programme.

He and accomplice Grant Webster made off with £870 after robbing the bookies at about 7pm on May 18, 2018.

Prosecutor Georgia Luscombe described how both had asked the cashier “lots of questions” before Webster walked to the entrance and waited inside while Booty leapt on the counter and snatched the cash drawer as it opened.

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When the employee attempted to wrest it back, Booty swung a punch and jumped off the counter, shouting: “Come on then”.

Stephen Dyble, mitigating, said Booty’s 30 convictions for 48 mainly theft offences were “indicative of a man resorting to acquisitive offending to support a drug habit”.

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“To his credit, he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, has undertaken drug rehabilitation and has obtained qualifications with a view to gaining employment,” said Mr Dyble.

Judge Rupert Overbury told Booty: “You have an appalling criminal record; no doubt as a result of drug abuse.

“You have used your time in prison well, which is to your credit, and your qualifications can be used for gainful employment when released.

“Although you threatened minimal force with a swinging punch, in the absence of a victim impact statement, there is no evidence of any physical or psychological harm caused.”

Taking a starting point of 18 months in custody for medium culpability and minimal harm, Judge Overbury reduced Booty’s sentence by a quarter for his early admission, with a further discount for good behaviour.

He deemed the resulting 12-month sentence served, but to be followed by a period of supervision by the probation service upon his release.

Codefendant, Webster, 34, of Drake Mews, Hornchurch, failed to attend court but will be produced and sentenced at a later date.

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