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Teen gunmen jailed for botched Knaresborough robbery
TWO teenage armed robbers have been jailed for a sawn-off shotgun raid that brought terror to a North Yorkshire shop.
Wearing masks, hoodies and dark clothing, Peter Wass, who was 16 at the time, and Craig Jackson, then 18, burst into a Co-op store, Alan Mitcheson, prosecuting, said.
But staff resisted their gunpoint demands to hand over any money and customers, including an off-duty police officer, chased them through the grounds of a nursery, a cemetery, a caravan park and half of Knaresborough until they went to ground in undergrowth on the far side of the River Nidd.
Police dog teams, armed officers and a police helicopter scoured the area and caught Jackson. Gunman Wass got away and managed to successfully get rid of the weapon, but was arrested five days later when armed police made a dawn raid on his house. “It was an unsuccessful robbery,” said Mr Mitcheson at Leeds Crown Court. “Those within the shop showed some obstinacy in not handing over money and in the heat of the moment, the two men then lost their nerve and ran off.”
The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, said Wass was the leader and gunman, and jailed him for five years.
Wass, now 17, of East Park Road, Harrogate, denied attempted robbery of the Co-op supermarket in Chain Lane, Knaresborough, and possessing a firearm with intent to commit an offence, but was found guilty at a trial.
Jackson, now 19, of Church Hill, Spofforth, pleaded guilty to the same offences and was jailed for three years and four months.
The court heard both teenagers had been drinking.
“You are someone no-one would have imagined would have committed an offence like that,” the judge told Jackson, who had one previous conviction for breaking a window on his 18th birthday. Alistair Campbell, for Jackson, said the raid was “badly bungled” and said Jackson only got involved because of Wass’ influence and because he had been drinking.
The court was told Jackson had wanted money as he did not want to continue “sponging” off his mother, who was in poor health.
Wass had no previous convictions. His solicitor advocate, Richard Reed, said Wass was an industrious farm-worker and well-liked.
Mr Mitcheson said the pair planned the robbery the day before. They walked into the supermarket shortly before 6pm on May 22. It was not clear whether the gun was loaded.