Robber stole phone from shop worker

Ben Courtney
Ben Courtney

A man robbed a shop worker of her mobile phone after she refused to give him cash from the till, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Ben Courtney,21, of no fixed address but formerly of Snaith Avenue, Fosdyke, walked into the greengrocers shop in Francis Street, Spalding and approached the counter with two apples.

But as he went to pay the 40p he told the assistant ‘just give me all the notes from your till’.

Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said the 20-year-old assistant was taken aback by the request and queried with Courtney what he was saying.

But Courtney responded by demanding ‘give me the notes now’.

Mr Scott said: “Bravely she told him she couldn’t open the till but he told her he didn’t believe her and told her to ring through the sale of the apples.

“She maintained she couldn’t open the till. The defendant made for the exit but then came back and said ‘give me your phone’.

“His hand was inside his jacket and she believed this was being done to make her think he was concealing a weapon.”

Mr Scott said the assistant started to panic and eventually handed over her phone after Courtney told her ‘give me your phone of else’.

Courtney fled but CCTV evidence showed him loitering around the shop and he was arrested just days later when a police officer on patrol recognised him from the CCTV footage.

Courtney admitted robbery on 25 January. He was jailed for 18 months at a hearing on June 20.

Judge Sean Morris told him “This was planned and it was persistent. This was a vulnerable victim. I have a duty to protect the public. They must know that if people rob them, then they will be caught and they will go to prison.”

Neil Sands, defending, said Courtney apologised ‘unreservedly’ for the offence.

He said “He is very sorry for what he has done. He has accepted full responsibility even though he has relatively little recollection of what took place.

“He was essentially homeless, penniless and desperate. He had just 40p to his name.

“He is not a young man who has a history of this sort of behaviour. He bitterly regrets what he has done. This stands out as a marked change in his behaviour.”