Lockdown raider jailed for more than eight years

Lockdown robber Matthew Thorndyke was jailed for more than eight years for knifepoint raids Picture

Lockdown robber Matthew Thorndyke was jailed for more than eight years for knifepoint raids Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

A robber who carried out three knifepoint raids at a post office and two stores in Suffolk over a period of four weeks during lockdown has been jailed for eight years and four months.

Albert Le Surf, 22, of Thorpe-le-Soken, was jailed after trying to steal a taxi driver's money bag i

Albert Le Surf, 22, of Thorpe-le-Soken, was jailed after trying to steal a taxi driver's money bag in Clacton Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Sentencing 32-year-old Matthew Thorndyke, Judge Emma Peters described Thorndyke as a “coward” and paid tribute to villagers in Hoxne who rallied round immediately after an attempted robbery at their local post office and offered reassurance by acting as “minders” at the premises.

She said the offences had happened during the coronavirus pandemic when shop staff had courageously kept going for the benefit of their communities.

Thorndyke, who was homeless at the time of the offences which took place in April and May this year, claimed he carried out the raids because he had no income during the coronavirus pandemic, Ipswich Crown Court heard on Monday August 3.

Nicola May, prosecuting, said that during the first offence at Fressingfield Stores at Fressingfield, near Stradbroke, on April 1 Thorndyke disguised himself with a balaclava and was armed with a knife.


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He made off with £890 cash from the till, £1,990 of tobacco and £309 of alcohol after telling a female assistant: “Give me money from the till or I’ll hurt you.”

A 13-year-old boy had been in the shop at the time and managed to flee from the premises and raise the alarm, said Miss May.

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On April 21, Thorndyke stole £200 cash during a knifepoint robbery at the Food and Wine store in Diss and on May 1 he left the Diss Post Office empty handed after a staff member pressed a panic alarm when Thorndyke, who was armed with a ten inch kitchen knife, demanded money.

Thorndyke, of no fixed address, admitted robbery at Fressingfield Stores and attempted robbery at Hoxne post office.

He also admitted two offences of possessing a knife.

Thorndyke also asked for the robbery at the Food and Wine store in Diss and six offences of making off without payment from petrol stations totalling £215 to be considered.

Danielle O’Donovan for Thorndyke said her client was a groundsman and hadn’t qualified for financial help from the government during the pandemic as he had recently become self-employed.

She said although he had been assertive during the raids he hadn’t been aggressive and no-one was injured.

She said the offences lacked sophistication.

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