Two sentenced for Adur and Worthing armed robberies
A pair face time behind bars for two armed robberies in the Adur and Worthing area in the summer of 2016.
The culprits threatened staff with a gun but only managed to leave with a relatively small amount.
Liam Newman (left) and Damien Gilbert (right), both of no fixed address but from the local area, were charged with robbery and possession of a firearm and now are facing 16 and a half years in prison between them.
Newman, 31, the mastermind of the robberies in August 2016, was responsible for the robbery on August 13 and encouraged Gilbert to commit the second one on August 18.
At around 10.45pm police were called to Mr G’s convenience store at Bowness Avenue in Sompting where a masked man, 30-year-old Newman, had walked in and having found no-one behind the counter, walked through the shop and confronted the woman member of staff who had been filling shelves. He threatened her with a gun and forced her back to the counter.
He demanded she empty the till and load his bag with cigarettes. He then left casually strolling past two members of the public, managing to get away with £800 and between 20 and 30 packs of cigarettes.
Five days later on August 18 Newman met his accomplice 23-year-old Damien Gilbert at the corner of Wordsworth Road and Rowlands Road, Worthing just metres from the Ladbrokes they were about to rob.
Newman and Gilbert were captured on CCTV talking and detectives believe Newman was preparing Gilbert for his first armed robbery. Gilbert was then seen to walk across the road and pull his jumper over his face.
At 7.53pm Gilbert walked into the bookmakers and threatened the member of staff with a gun and forced him to fill his bag with cash from the till. He ran from the bookmakers along Wordsworth Road, only getting away with £70.
A team of detectives working on the armed robberies established they were connected and began making extensive enquiries. They gathered evidence from both scenes, spoke to witnesses and began trawling through CCTV.
While reviewing the CCTV footage of the Mr G’s robbery, a keen-eyed detective spotted two distinctive tattoos on the hands of the robber and believed them to be numbers. When Newman was arrested in September 2016, he was found to have number 19 tattooed on one hand and 85 on the other, the year he was born. These tattoos matched those on the robber in the CCTV.
Police also arrested Gilbert in September last year and charged with robbery and possession of a firearm for the robbery at Ladbrokes. Newman was charged for robbery and possession of a firearm for the Mr G’s robbery.
Detective Sergeant Jason Vickers, Deputy Senior Investigating Officer, said: “Understandably at the time people in the area were very concerned about these armed robberies and we worked tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice.
“Newman and Gilbert robbed these members of staff for what was, in the end, relatively small amounts of money or cigarettes. Yet the impact this will have on these people working in these premises will last a lifetime. The incidents were shocking for those involved who really did believe their lives to be in danger when they were having a gun pointed at them.
“Newman and Gilbert pleaded guilty to their offences earlier this year.”
Kelly Conway, 31, was also charged with robbery and was found not guilty at Hove Crown Court on August 2.
Newman were sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on October 2 to 9 years in prison and five years on extended licence. Gilbert was sentenced on October 3, also at Lewes Crown Court, to seven and a half years in prison and four years on extended licence.