Prison for hammer raider

Preston Crown Court and (below) hammer raider Darren Irving has been jailed.
Preston Crown Court and (below) hammer raider Darren Irving has been jailed.
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A sailor who went AWOL from the Royal Navy and then raided a Blackpool shop, armed with a hammer and knife, has been jailed.

Darren Irving threatened a female shop assistant during the terrifying robbery at the Co-op on Coronation Street in Blackpool.

Hammer raider Darren Irving has been jailed.

Hammer raider Darren Irving has been jailed.

He held a kitchen knife and a hammer in his hands before escaping with nearly £300 in cash.

The 37-year-old, of no fixed address, had pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery and two offences of having an offensive weapon.

Preston Crown Court heard Irving took £292 during the robbery, which happened around 9.45am on July 4. He has now been jailed for 32 months.

Judge Anthony Russell QC told Irving: “It must have been a very frightening experience for that assistant.

“She was terrified at the time.

“Although it seems to me unlikely you would have actually used any violence upon her, the threat of violence was there and she would not have appreciated that no violence may have been used against her.”

The court heard Irving did well in the Navy, but then things went wrong and he took absence without leave.

He decided to commit a robbery and bought a knife and hammer.

Paul Robinson, defending, said Irving had spent seven years on the submarines.

He expected to be handed a prison sentence.

Mr Robinson added: “He entered a timely guilty plea, was frank with the police and fully admitted the robbery in interview.

“The incident was brought about by a combination of factors which are most unlikely to occur ever again in his life.

“He is assessed as a low risk of offending in the future.”

Lancashire Police said staff were terrified by the incident.

A police spokesman said: “Irving left shop staff terrified after approaching the till and demanding money while brandishing a knife and hammer.

“I’m pleased we were able to apprehend him so quickly and he will now serve an appropriate sentence for his crime.”

A spokesman for The Co-operative Food said: “We take all incidents such as this most seriously and are pleased to see that the court has passed a suitable punishment.”

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