Man admits machete robbery


Robert Platt

A FATHER-of-three who took part in an armed robbery at Mecca Bingo in Chester has been warned he faces jail.

Appearing in Chester Crown Court yesterday Stephen James Bond, 30, wearing a grey suit, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery.

The court was told the robbery took place at about 11.40pm on Thursday, April 28, last year at the Brookdale Place gaming site just after it had closed.

Three staff members who were working at the time were threatened with machetes and tied up while a number of robbers broke into the venue’s safe and made off with more than £67,000.

Prosecuting, David Jones said: “The robbery involved him being one of the men who entered wielding machetes, tying up staff before making off with the money.”

Mr Jones said Bond, of All Saints Close, Liverpool, had also pleaded guilty on Monday to a robbery in Liverpool on November 23, 2011.

In that incident Bond and two other men had robbed a security guard of cash which had been collected from a nearby newsagents.

Michael James Smith, 30, of Grey Road, Liverpool and Daniel Peter McCourt, 25, of Renwick Road, Liverpool, both also admitted to the robbery at Liverpool Crown Court before the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Clement Goldstein.

“The Crown Prosecution says both are serious matters and both merit substantial custodial sentences,” added Mr Jones.

Defending Bond, Michael Davis said: “He is a family man.

"His involvement in this robbery has ended his marriage.

"His wife had sent a text saying she was going to tell the police what he has done.

"They have three young children.”

The Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, said: “You know as well as I do what the inevitable consequences of your actions will be.

"Custody is quite inevitable.”

Bond was released on conditional bail and will be sentenced at a later date.

Meanwhile, co-accused Smith appeared in the dock yesterday alongside defendants Stephen Beaumont, 22, of Woolhope Road, Liverpool and Graeme Robert Harrocks, 25, and Lisa Joinson, 28, both of Halkyn Road, Hoole, Chester.

All four defendants are also facing an allegation of conspiracy to commit robbery in relation to the incident at Mecca Bingo.

None of them entered pleas and only spoke to confirm their names and addresses.

Beaumont, Harrocks and Joinson were all released on unconditional bail until their next hearing at Chester Crown Court on Friday, June 8.

Smith was remanded in custody.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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