Homeless man jailed for Blacon knifepoint robbery bid


Staff reporter (Chester First)

A HOMELESS man who attempted to rob a member of the public at knifepoint has been jailed.

Craig Paul Roberts, 39, took a knife out of his jacket on Brentwood Road, Blacon, and demanded that Douglas Thorpe hand over his mobile phone.

Mr Thorpe refused and jumped over a garden fence and went into a house which he saw had lights on inside.

Roberts, who has drug and alcohol issues and lives on the streets, admitted two charges of attempted robbery and carrying a blade and was sentenced to two years in prison at Chester Crown Court yesterday.

Meirion Lewis Jones, prosecuting, told the court Mr Thorpe was walking home from McColls newsagents on Blacon Avenue on the evening of November 2.

It was about 7pm and dark and wet when Mr Thorpe spotted three men on the opposite side of the street at the corner of Stamford Road.

On turning down the road one of the men continued to follow Mr Thorpe. Before they arrived on Brentwood Road, Roberts asked: “Do you know what’s happening?”

Mr Thorpe replied: “Why would I know what is happening?”, before Roberts produced a knife from his pocket and said: ‘Give me your phone or I’ll slice you.’.

Mr Thorpe replied that his phone was worth £9.99 and therefore was not worth taking, at which point the two youths who had been walking with Roberts down the road said: “Just give him the phone mate. It’s not worth it.”.

Mr Thorpe turned and ran, jumping over a fence, when Roberts shouted: “I knew you’d run”.

The victim shouted back: “Of course I’m going to if you pull a knife, you baghead”.

He then saw a house with its lights on and knocked on the back door to be allowed in. The woman living in the property let Mr Thorpe in before calling the police.

Roberts was later arrested in the area.

Gareth Roberts, defending, said his client said he had been “bouncing around Blacon” on the night and had got a bottle of vodka from a local store.

In police interview he had denied the attempted robbery but admitted carrying a craft knife, saying it was for protection.

Mr Roberts said his client had a 20 year history of offending and was a regular visitor to court. He was seeking to find ways of getting himself off the streets at night.

He added: “My client accepts he is going to jail today but maintains he carried the knife for personal protection.”

The Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, said Roberts was “not going to get himself off the streets by threatening innocent members of the public”.

He added: “You have had a sad life but there is no excuse for this sort of behaviour on our streets.

“I’ve no choice but to impose the minimum sentence upon you of two years.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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