Armed robbery pair locked up

TWO workmates who carried out an armed robbery on Northallerton Workingmen's Club have been jailed for a total of 23 years.

Stephen Miller, 41, and Carl Henry, 32, pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court last Friday to a hold-up at the club on January 21 where they stole 2,300. Miller also admitted an armed raid last November on the Hollywood Cinema Complex in Scarborough, where he escaped with 3,500.

Miller of Loftus Road, Thornaby, was jailed for 15 years after he pleaded guilty to both robberies, and Henry from Eastmount Road, Darlington, who admitted one burglary, was jailed for eight years.

Speaking after the sentencing, bar manager Mr Peter Ford, a victim of the robbery, along with partner Hannah Dewhirst and their baby Jasmine, welcomed the jailing of the pair.

"I am happy they caught them and they are inside," said Mr Ford, who believed the robbers should serve their full jail term. He added: "Fifteen years isn't a lot, especially when your own bairn is involved. When they do things like that, they should do the full stretch."

Teesside Crown Court was told that both Northallerton Workingmen's Club and the Hollywood Cinema Complex in Scarborough were broken into through fire doors and Miller threatened staff with a handgun before leaving them tied up and ransacking the safe. Henry carried a metal cosh in the Northallerton robbery.

They were caught after a woman detective recognised Miller on the club's CCTV video. The men were arrested by armed Cleveland Police officers at their work, the Stockwell depot of Menzies, the newspaper wholesalers.

The men were lying in wait when the Northallerton club's cleaner Joan Stockwell arrived at 7am. She was confronted by a coloured man wearing a stocking over his head and carrying a metal truncheon, said prosecutor Christopher Attwooll.

The robber, Henry told her to get into the bar and to sit on a chair. Miller entered with a handgun, put it to her head and threatened her. She was questioned about other staff arriving. Miller hid and when Mr Ford arrived with his partner Hannah and their baby Jasmine he was grabbed and the gun was stuck into the back of his neck.

Mr Ford was told to get into the bar room and he was asked where the keys were and the money was kept. Miss Dewhirst was told to sit with the cleaner and Henry stayed with them in the bar waving the truncheon.

Mr Attwooll said that the gun was pointed at Mr Ford. Miller tied up Mr Ford, Miss Dewhirst and Mrs Stockwell. Miss Dewhirst hid her mobile phone up her sleeve, and she heard one of the men say: "I'm going to kill the bloke, he said there would be no kids here."

Eventually Miss Dewhirst used her phone to call the police who found that the raiders had forced the fire exit door. A check on the club's CCTV system showed the robbers arriving at 7.32am and leaving at 8.32am in a Volvo car. Two days later a women detective with North Yorkshire Police recognised Miller on the film.

In jailing the pair, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Peter Fox QC said that the stakes were high and the public would not tolerate that type of gangster behaviour.