Two decades behind bars for man who stole £70k during terrifying armed robbery at Doncaster Post Office

A Doncaster man who terrorised Post Office staff with an imitiation firearm during an armed robbery in which he stole almost £70,000 in cash and stamps has been jailed for 20 years.

By Sarah Marshall
Monday, 10 June, 2019, 17:23

James Jackson carried out the terrifying armed raid at Scawthorpe Post Office in Amersall Road on the afternoon of October 22 last year with a second man he has refused to name.

He was found guilty of armed robbery and possession of an imitiation firearm, following a six-day trial.

During a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday, Judge Paul Watson QC jailed Jackson for 20 years, with an extended license period of five years due to the risk of danger he is deemed to pose to the public.

He told Jackson: “This was a sophisticated and well-planned robbery. You had acquired a gun and a machete. You had visited the store on numerous occasions, sometimes engaging the manager in conversation. I have no doubt that was to familarise yourself with the security perameters in place and the opportunities to commit this offence.”

The court heard how Jackson had been into the store so often that even though he was wearing a balaclava, the store’s manager was able to recognise him from his voice.

Jackson, aged 39, entered the shop brandishing what was later discovered to be an imitation firearm, while his criminal colleague was wielding a large machete.

The pair forced members of staff to open the safe, empty the ATM and hand over stamps and made them kneel on the floor as Jackson, of Crompton Avenue, Sprotbrough and his associate threatened them with weapons.

David Gordon, prosecuting, told the court that a total of £68,960.75 in cash and stamps were stolen during the robbery, none of which has ever been recovered.

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Jackson and the second robber left the scene after around 10 minutes on a stolen bright green Kawasaki motorbike, fitted with false number plates.

He was arrested in Mexborough three days later over unrelated matters, and police recovered two machetes, one of which was similar to the one used in the robbery, during a search of his property.

The court was told that Jackson has an extensive criminal record, which includes previous convictions for armed robbery and possession of a bladed article.

Zaiban Alam, defending, said that while weapons were brandished during the robbery no ‘actual violence’ was carried out.

“He is a man who has had a drug dependency for many years. He’s had periods where he has been drug-free but has not managed to maintain a drug-free lifestyle,” said Ms Alam, adding that Jackson has a wife and 14-year-old son.

As he sent Jackson to begin his lengthy prison sentence, Judge Watson told him: “I take the view that the public need substantial protection from you, given your history and the circumstances of this offending.”

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Constable Adam Watkinson said: “This was an incredibly traumatic incident for the staff members inside the post office that day, and while no one was thankfully injured, Jackson made significant threats with both the gun and a machete.

“Jackson has denied his involvement throughout, despite the evidence we were able to put to him and I’m pleased that he has now serving significant time behind bars.

“This investigation was a priority for us in Doncaster CID. We are committed to keeping residents of the town safe and in identifying and arresting Jackson we’ve been able to ensure he’s now behind bars and no longer poses a danger to the public.”