Leiston: Teenager locked up for knifepoint raid on newsagents

A TEENAGER who robbed a Suffolk shopkeeper at knifepoint has been locked up for two years and eight months.

Lewis Tanner was 17 when he walked into KP Newsagents in High Street, Leiston, brandishing a carving knife and wearing a hood and a scarf over his face, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday.

Last night detective inspector Angus Moir said he was pleased with the sentence and that it reflected the serious nature of the offence, which took place on December 28 last year.

Two other customers were in the shop when Tanner walked in at around 5.30pm and approached shopkeeper Thaya Yogarajah, Michael Crimp, prosecuting, told the court.

As Tanner handed Mr Yogarajah a plastic bag and told him “Put the money in the bag” the two customers had left the shop.

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Tanner had then produced the knife and told Mr Yogarajah to open the till and when he said he couldn’t because he needed to scan in a purchase Tanner had picked up a packet of cigarettes for him to scan, said Mr Crimp.

As Tanner began taking money from the till Mr Yogarajah had jumped over the counter and had run out of the shop holding the door closed behind him.

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Tanner had pulled the door open and had run off leaving behind the knife and a plastic bag which was later found to have his fingerprint on.

Mr Crimp said it was not known how much money was stolen by Tanner, but when Mr Yogarajah spoke to the EADT shortly after the robbery he said the amount was around �700.

Tanner, now 18, of Sylvester Road, Leiston, admitted robbery and having a knife in a public place and was sentenced to two years and eight months detention in a young offenders’ institution. Sentencing him Judge Peter Fenn said shopkeepers such as Mr Yogarajah provided a valuable service to local communities and deserved to be protected by the courts from people like Tanner.

The court heard that in July last year Tanner had appeared in court for two robberies during which he had taken a mobile phone and an iPod.

Andrew Thompson, for Tanner, said his client had been under pressure to repay a drug debt following threats to him and his family. Mr Thompson described the robbery at the newsagents’ as a “desperate act”.

Det Insp Moir said: “This reflects the serious nature of the robbery and demonstrates that those who commit these type of offences can expect to receive a significant prison term.

“He [Tanner] had been recognised during the robbery and was arrested by police a short time later. Work was carried out to gather further evidence and fingerprints were discovered on a carrier bag dropped by the offender.

“We are pleased that he has been jailed and I would like to thank all the witnesses and officers who played their part in securing the conviction. They have helped show that when police and the public work together we can tackle the minority intent on causing crime and anti-social behaviour.”

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