Trio punished for terrifying Dearne shop raids

Andrew Rich, 30, of Wortley Avenue, Swinton, was jailed for his part on a series of armed robberies.

Andrew Rich, 30, of Wortley Avenue, Swinton, was jailed for his part on a series of armed robberies.

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Shop workers have spoken of their relief after a gang of robbers were punished for a series of terrifying raids at newsagents in the area.

A man and two youths were caught after four raids and attempted raids on shops across Swinton, Rawmarsh and Kilnhurst within a matter of days.

Police said on three of the occasions the gang threatened terrified staff with a firearm.

Andrew Rich, 30, of Wortley Avenue, Swinton, was jailed for six years.

A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was locked up for three years and a 16-year-old boy, who also cannot be identified, was handed a youth rehabilitation order.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how Blaney’s newsagents in Highthorn Road, Kilnhurst, was targeted on January 6 by two males who threatened staff with a firearm and fled with a substantial amount of cash.

Several days later, Mighali’s convenience store in Claypit Lane, Rawmarsh, was raided by two males who also threatened staff and fled with cash.

On 16 January, two males entered Howsons General Store in Bridleway, Rawmarsh, and intimated to staff they had a weapon in their pockets before leaving with money.

The following day, Broadway News and Booze in Broadway, Swinton, was robbed by two males who threatened staff with a firearm. The staff member refused to give them money and the pair left empty-handed.

After the trio were sentenced, Andrea Howson, 40, co-owner of Howsons General Store, said: “The girl who was working at the time was really shaken up by it. We are all pleased that the main guy who did it is off the streets, and the other two were punished.”

A staff members at Blaney’s, who did not want to be named, said: “It is a relief that they have been caught and punished.”

A worker at Mighali’s, who wanted to remain anonymous, added: “The girl who was working was really shaken up but she has peace of mind at least now.”

Rich pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery, one attempted robbery and four counts of possessing an imitation firearm.

Along with a six year prison term, he will also spend four years on licence.

The 17-year-old admitted three counts of robbery, one attempted robbery and two drug offences.

The 16-year-old pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.

All were sentenced on Thursday, April 2.

After the hearing, Acting Detective Sergeant Iain Martin, the investigating officer, said: “Luckily, nobody was seriously hurt in any of the robberies but many local businesses and residents have been left shaken by their selfish and thoughtless campaign.

“They showed no regard for the businesses they targeted.

“Their actions are appalling and I am glad they have been taken off the streets.”