Court told how robbers ‘dragged market trader along’ as he clung to van

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Two men robbed a market trader of £100,000 worth of stock after confronting him outside his home, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Jewellery dealer Stephen James, commonly known as ‘Eggy’, was targeted by Jamie Holland and Barnabas Wood just before 5am as he loaded his van ready to set off to Boston Market.

David Outterside, prosecuting, said: “The victim knows the defendants.

“Stephen James is a market trader. He has run a stall at Boston Market for many years. He would buy and sell gold and silver as well as repairing jewellery. The victim was loading his van with jewellery, cash and equipment he would need for that day’s trading.”

Mr James, who at the time was recovering following an operation, was assisted by two friends in loading the van at quarter to five in the morning.

Mr Outterside said: “The three of them had nearly loaded the van. The engine was running and the van was in the victim’s driveway.

“He was robbed by these defendants of his entire stock. The victim was pushed in the back and that caused him to fall to the floor. He ended up on the floor helpless as Wood got into the driver’s seat and started to drive away.

“The victim in a vain effort to stop his entire stock being taken grabbed onto the door handle. He was dragged along the road before he was forced to let go.

“Wood drove away from the scene. Immediately afterwards Holland was seen across the road. He ran from the scene and was chased but he made his escape.”

The van was driven to Benington where it was set on fire. The jewellery, worth £100,000, was never recovered.

Holland, 27, of White House Lane, Boston, and Wood, also 27, of Woodthorpe Avenue, Boston, each admitted robbery on November 32012. On Thursday they were each jailed for five years. Holland’s sentence will run consecutive to a 13 year jail sentence he is currently serving for an attempted robbery.

Judge Michael Heath told them Mr James could have been killed in the incident, adding: “The effect on Mr James has been considerable and lasting. His van contained £100,000 worth of jewellery. It was his entire stock which has never been recovered. The word ruined comes to mind.”

Holland’s former girlfriend Danielle Thorne, 22, of White House Lane, Boston, admitted assisting an offender by giving him a false alibi when she told police that he was in bed with her when the robbery took place. She was given a four month jail sentence suspended for two years with supervision and 60 hours of unpaid work.

Christine Lucock, for Holland, said that at the time of the offence her client had gambling debts of £50,000 and came up with the plan to steal the van.

“There was absolutely no intent to use any form of violence whatsoever. The plan was to simply drive away the van and its contents.”

She said the only reward Holland gained was a share of the £1,000 cash in the van which he divided with Wood.

Nick Adlington, for Wood, said his client took Holland to the scene and then drove the van away, adding: “This is a young man who has made one big mistake. He apologises to the complainant. He has the deepest regret and remorse for his involvement in this.

“The irony is that the middle man they arranged to deal with in respect of the jewellery in effect rolled them over. He had the jewellery and they received no money for it so he had involved himself in this enterprise for nothing.”

Saleema Mahmood, for Thorne, said she acted out of misplaced loyalty. Miss Mahmood said Thorne has since moved from the Boston area and has started a new life in another part of the country.

Speaking after the hearing DC Gary Dreher, from Boston CID, said: “This was a high value robbery and Mr James’ entire stock was stolen.

“The pair showed total disregard for him when the van was driven off while he was clinging to the door and the consequences could have been extremely serious.

“Both men are dangerous individuals who deserve to be behind bars”.