Gun raid terror at Blackpool store

Detectives at the scene of an armed robbery at the Cosmos Premier newsagents and off licence on Waterloo Road in South Shore.
Detectives at the scene of an armed robbery at the Cosmos Premier newsagents and off licence on Waterloo Road in South Shore.
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KNIFE wielding teenagers fled with a haul of cash and goods when they held-up a newsagent at gunpoint.

The gang attacked one of the shop assistants before fleeing with £900 in cash and £800 worth of cigarettes after the terrifying raid.

Wearing scarves and hoods over their faces, one teenager aimed a silver handgun at the assistant while the other two went behind the counter at Cosmos Premier newsagents on Waterloo Road, South Shore.

Anthony Wright, 19, of Erdington Road, Blackpool, Craig Davies, 18, of Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, all admitted the robbery during a sentencing hearing at Preston Crown Court.

Wright also admitted possessing an imitation firearm, while the other two admitted having knives.

The trio were caught on CCTV during the robbery and footage of the raid was played to the court during a sentencing hearing at court.

Martine Snowdon, prosecuting, said two members of staff were on duty when the gang entered wearing scarves and hoods over their faces.

Wright was carrying the silver handgun which he aimed at the shop assistant, while Davies and the third teenager went behind the counter.

The shop assistant pressed a panic button and Davies kicked him in the groin in an attempt to stop him.

Both Wright and Davies were identified when the older man’s fingerprint was found in the shop and Davies’ footprint was discovered behind the till.

Wayne Jackson, defending Wright, said he was 18 at the time of the raid last June and knew a significant sentence would follow.

The robbery was planned when Wright and his friends realised they would have to pay for drugs they had been taking during the days leading up to the offence.

Mr Jackson added: “It was an extreme approach to the offence.

“The defendant felt the mere sight of the handgun would have been sufficient to resolve matters in terms of the robbery.

“He had left the shop when violence was used. He himself has described his behaviour as selfish and stupid.”

Roger Baldwin, defending Davies, said his client was appearing in court on his 18th birthday.

While he was involved in the robbery, he was not the instigator but joined in to get funds to discharge the drug debt, his barrister told the court.

He was described as having genuine remorse for what happened.

John Woodward, defending the 17-year-old defendant, said he had been 16 at the time and was consumed with contrition and remorse.

He had begun consuming the drug “bubble” and was “wired” at the time and had very little recollection, if any, of what took place.

Wright and a fourth defendant, Russell Hickey, 19, of South Park Drive, Blackpool, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery at a branch of Ladbrokes bookmakers.

This offence came to light after police discovered an exchange of text messages between the two teens.

Hickey is also facing sentencing for a second offence of possessing a Class B drug with intent to supply.

The conspiracy to rob charge centred on around 20 text messages exchanged between Wright and Hickey which were discovered by police.

In them there was a discussion about guns and what would be stolen, but there was no evidence the plan came to fruition.

Paul Humphries, defending Hickey, said although a robbery had been planned, no actual action was ever taken.

Judge Norman Wright adjourned the passing of sentence until Tuesday. All four defendants were remanded in custody.

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