Teenager jailed for six years for knifepoint robberies
A teenager who robbed two small shops at knifepoint within 72 hours has been jailed for six years and nine months.
Joseph Kingsley aggressively threatened young staff at the Corsham stores, brandishing a huge kitchen knife as he demanded cash.
The 19-year-old targeted the vulnerable stores shortly before closing time to ensure the tills would be full of notes.
And a week after the two raids he carried out a similar hold-up at a petrol station in Swindon.
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Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon crown court how the first robbery took place at Oakleys, on Pickwick Road, at about 9pm on Monday March 19 last year.
The raider stormed into the small shop and threatened two teenage girls working behind the counter, with the large knife before fleeing with about £500.
Kingsley had made no attempt to cover his face and the victims were later able to pick him out in an identity parade.
Three days later he struck again, carrying out a similar raid at Costcutters, in Kings Avenue, again minutes before the convenience store was due to close at 9pm.
The court saw CCTV footage from inside the store as Kingsley demanded the cash from the till as he held the knife at head height with the blade pointing towards a young worker, aggressively jabbing it backwards and forwards.
Miss Hingston said: “The robber seemed to have learned that it might be wise to disguise himself so he had a black beanie hat pulled down over his face with two holes for eyes cut in it.”
She said footage from cameras outside the store clearly showed the robber putting on the makeshift balaclava, while holding the knife, seconds before he burst in.
Kingsley made off with £300 and dumped the distinctive clothing he had been wearing under a hedge, but it was found and his DNA was located on it.
He was arrested on March 28 and questioned before being released on bail, but within 48 hours he committed another offence.
The third knifepoint robbery, at the Esso service station on Kingshill Road in Swindon, followed the same pattern.
Miss Hingston said he also stole about £2,000 worth of copper and lead piping from a farmhouse in The Locks, Devizes, which was being renovated in September 2011.
Kingsley, formerly of Lower Allington, Chippenham, pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery and three of possessing a bladed article.
The teenager pleaded not guilty to a further three of each charge and an attempted robbery and those charges were left to lie on the file.
Marcus Davey, defending, said his client was full of remorse for what he had done having stopped offending because he knew it was wrong.
After a tough upbringing, he said, Kingsley had been thrown out by his mum when he was 16 and had been homeless and out of work when he committed the offences.
“He was homeless and destitute: he committed all these offences because of a need for money for rent and food,” he said.
Jailing Kingsley, Judge Euan Ambrose said: “On each occasion the premises targeted were small businesses. You targeted them at night, in darkness, and close to closing time.
“Businesses of this type are vulnerable to this type of attack. They do not have the resources for sophisticated security systems or indeed dedicated security guards.
“Their vulnerability makes these offences more serious. You had a large knife that would cause considerable fear in those you were robbing.”