Robbers behind bars after three violent raids in six-hour crime spree
Three men have been jailed for 16 years after three robberies in just six hours.
Lee Convery, Declan Simms and Scot Quinn have been locked up for five years and four months each after committing the crimes together in Sunderland.
The defendants appeared at Newcastle Crown Court via video link to Durham Prison, where they were sentenced by Judge Robert Spragg.
The court heard how the three men first targeted a man and his girlfriend who were on their way home from a night out on Fawcett Street in the city centre atjust after 2.30am on October 26 last year.
Simms, 22, threatened the male victim with a smashed bottle, causing him to fall over onto the ground, and cash was then removed from his pockets.
The court heard how one of the group then grabbed his girlfriend's bag and she fell to the ground.
Neil Pallister, prosecuting, told the court how later that morning, at around 5am, Simms and Convery, 20, entered the Premier Store on Pallion Road.
He said that Simms distracted the shop keeper while Convery filled a basket full of alcohol and left the store with it.
After realising what has happened, the shopkeeper tried to prevent Simms from leaving the premises.
However Quinn, 20, who was outside the shop, pushed the door into the shopkeeper allowing Simms to escape.
Three hours later, the trio began talking to another man in Mowbray Park and one of them offered him a cigarette.
However, as he was sitting down, Quinn stood up and kicked him in the head.
His pockets were then searched and his cash and mobile phone were stolen.
Two days later, on October 28, a man said he was left "petrified" when Quinn approached him and threatened him.
The court heard how Quinn believed that the man had previously assaulted him however it was a case of mistaken identity.
On May 19 this year, Convery stole a handbag from Rusty's bar in Newcastle and used a bank card to buy items from Sainsburys.
Convery, of Marigold Walk, South Shields, admitted three counts of robbery, theft from the premier shop, theft of a handbag, fraud and failing to appear atcourt.
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Simms, of Jesmond House, Newcastle, admitted three counts of robbery, threatening with an offensive weapon, theft from the premier store and failing to appear at court.
Quinn, of St Cuthbert’s Terrace, Millfield, Sunderland, admitted three counts of robbery, common assault on the shopkeeper and a public order offence.
Tony Cornberg, defending Simms, told the court: "He’s described as being appalled by what he did."
Mr Cornberg told the court how Simms said: "I have never wanted to say sorry more than I do now."
He said Simms became his father's full time career at the age of 12 and was left homeless after his death.
Mr Cornberg said: "It's something we might hear about 100 years ago."
He said that since these offences Simm has became a father himself.
Mr Cornberg said: "He has a relationship and a home and a child to support."
Vic Laffey, defending Convery, told the court how Convery had a difficult upbringing and he ended up in the care system.
He said: "His life has become more and more reliant upon alcohol and drugs.
"He accepts without hesitation that these are joint enterprise and he was involved and that he should be sentenced as the others are.
"Because of the alcohol he had taken and the drugs he had he can't really remember what his involvement was."
Jo Kidd, defending Quinn, told the court how Quinn was 19-years-old when the offences were committed and he describes it as a "short period of madness".
She said Quinn has "knuckled down" since being remanded in HMP Durham and has approached the period of time with "growing maturity".
Judge Spragg sentenced Simms, Convery and Quinn to five years and four months in prison.