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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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Duo brought to justice for attempted robbery

A MASKED Barrow teenager who tried to rob a jeweller’s while brandishing a 12-inch kitchen knife has been locked up for two years.

Scott Brown went into the shop and shouted: “Give me the money, give me the money.”

But the shop boss refused to hand over any cash and Brown fled empty-handed with partner-in-crime Ryan Ballantyne.

The shop boss and residents then gave chase and the duo was nabbed.

Yesterday, at Preston Crown Court, Brown, 17, of Storey Square, Barrow, was given a two-year detention and training order and Ballantyne, 16, of Cross Street, Barrow, received a 12-month detention and training order.

Miss Alex Simmons, prosecuting, told how Gary Johnston was working in the family shop, Johnston’s Of Grange Ltd, in Main Street, Grange, on March 5.

She said Mr Johnston heard the door buzzer and came from the workshop to see Brown with his hood up, a towel wrapped around his face and brandishing a 12-inch kitchen knife.

The prosecutor said Brown shouted: “Give me the money, give me the money.”

Mr Johnston activated the panic button and Brown and Ballantyne ran off with the shop boss in pursuit.

Miss Simmons said: “The defendants were captured due to the public spiritedness of the residents of Grange.”

In a victim impact statement Mr Johnston said he had acted instinctively, but later thought about the danger residents and himself had been in.

Speaking to the Evening Mail, the 38-year-old told of his shock at being confronted by an armed robber and thanked the community for coming to his aid as the duo made their escape through Grange town centre.

Brown, of Storey Square, Barrow, and Ballantyne, of Cross Street, Barrow, admitted a charge of attempted robbery.

Brown also admitted possession of a bladed article and criminal damage relating to an electronic tag he had removed.

Mr Adam Lodge, defending Brown, said the “amateurish” robbery had been his client’s idea as he had a £600 debt.

Mr Richard Haworth, defending Ballantyne, said his role had been as lookout and he was not aware the knife was going to be produced.

Judge Simon Newell said Mr Johnston was “very protective over his business and his livelihood and responded in a robust way.”

A previous court order had banned naming the youths. But at yesterday’s hearing the judge lifted the order allowing the press to identify them.

He told the court the defendants were now aged 17 and 16 and a half and had committed a serious crime and they ought to face the public.

Leading investigator on the case, Detective Constable Alison Jesson, said: “The level of sentencing reflects the ages of the youths, but they have received a custodial sentence which acknowledges the seriousness of the offence.

“This was an appalling crime against a man innocently going about his business and the police will continue to pursue criminals committing such serious offences and bring them to justice.”

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