Step-son of South Shields murder victim is jailed for theft

Steven Rice has been jailed for 16 months for theft
Steven Rice has been jailed for 16 months for theft

The step-son of murder victim Noddy Rice carried out a £700 betting shop raid because he was "starving".

Hooded raider Steven Rice has been put behind bars after asked staff at the Ladbrokes office in Boldon Lane, South Shields, "where's your money?" before walking behind the counter and opening the till.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the hungry 31-year-old helped himself to around £700 in cash, while telling workers "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm desperate".

Rice, of no fixed address, was caught by security cameras carrying out the daylight raid on November 15, despite having his hood up.

He was arrested at a nearby house with £200 stuffed down his sock.

Michael Bunch, prosecuting, told the court: "He said he had been kicked out of his mother's and had no money. He was starving and on the spur of the moment had gone into the shop."

Rice, who has previous convictions for robbery and violence, pleaded guilty to theft.

Andy Rutter, defending, said Rice was at his "lowest ebb".

Mr Rutter added: "In this case, very rarely, he was apologising, saying he was sorry while committing the crime. He said he was desperate.

"He had not eaten for a couple of days and temptation reared its ugly head."

Mr Rutter said he accepted staff at the shop would have been intimidated by what happened but that was through "perception rather than the actuality".

Mr Recorder Andrew Dallas sentenced Rice to 16 months behind bars.

The judge said Rice had come "within a whisker" of a robbery conviction, which would have resulted in years behind bars.

He told Rice: "You went into that shop and you knew what you were doing. You lifted the hatch, opened the door and got into the staff area.

"You had your hand in your pocket and your hood up. You no doubt wanted them to be sufficiently intimidated not to intervene because you were desperate to help yourself to money from the till, which is what you did.

"You got away with a substantial sum of money."

Rice's stepfather, David 'Noddy' Rice, was shot and killed as he sat in his vehicle at Marsden Grotto car park, South Shields, in May 2006.

Police are still hunting Allan Foster, 32, from South Shields, who they say was the gunman.

Foster is believed to have fled the country after the killing.