A TRIO of 18-year-olds who conspired to rob an A-level student at knifepoint in Chester have been locked up.

Wade Golby, Reece Jones and Yaseen Sati, all from Chester, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity after the young male victim – who had trusted Jones as a friend – was robbed on the night of September 10 near Tower View Road.

At Chester Crown Court on Tuesday, December 17, Honorary Recorder of Chester Judge Steven Everett sentenced the teenagers to five years in custody.

Prosecuting, Philip Clemo said Jones had betrayed his friend by arranging the robbery, while posing as a victim during the offence.

Mr Clemo it was on the night of September 10 when the victim met Jones in Garden Lane, on the pretence that Jones was to discuss "family issues", but instead was to tempt his victim into buying cannabis.

They walked to Telford's Warehouse, with the victim taking his bicycle along.

They then went to an area of scrubland off Tower View Road to smoke the cannabis and were approached by two hooded teenagers who could only be seen by their eyes.

Both produced knives and threatened the victim to hand over his possessions.

They stole items including cards, cash, a rucksack, an iPhone, a headphone speaker and a fleece, while Jones was seen handing a number of items over to his accomplices.

The hooded teenagers – Golby and Sati – returned to the scene moments later to demand the victim give the passcode for the phone, again threatening him with knives.

As they left, the hooded duo told them they knew where they lived and not to contact police.

After the robbery, Jones helped the victim recover a pair of headphones.

When the victim returned home, he told his parents and police were called.

They used an app to trace the iPhone's location and stopped a vehicle in Whipcord Lane, where Jones was a passenger.

He was asked to come to the police station, initially as a suspected victim.

But after an hour, Jones confessed to officers: "I have been stupid, I will tell you the truth."

He revealed he and Sati had been to London a few months ago and had been robbed themselves, and thought this was a way to get the money back.

Sati was later discovered with the stolen rucksack and arrested. He was searched and he said he had knives on him.

All three teenagers – who had no previous convictions – admitted the offences in interview.

A victim impact statement said the teenager had been through "the most traumatic event" in his life, adding he was struggling to sleep and when he did, he still had vivid nightmares about the incident.

He had previously been outgoing and was on course to get As in his A-levels, but now did not trust his friends, did not socialise and had been getting U grades.

He used to "live life to the full" but was now "living in fear".

Defending Jones, Richard Thomas said Jones had admitted the offences from a very early stage because he felt so guilty about what had occurred to someone who had been a friend.

Jones had been looking to go to university and had asked if he could take his A-level textbooks with him to custody as he was determined to take exams.

Mr Thomas added: "He accepts what he did was appalling. He has made a catastrophic error of judgment and immediately regretted it."

Defending Sati, Chudi Grant said it was "staggering" that he should appear on this sort of charge with no previous convictions.

He was under no illusions about his sentence and was ashamed for what he had done, and the position he had put his family in.

Defending Golby, Alison Mather said Golby had difficulties when growing up but had obtained GCSEs and was working as a chef for the Doubletree Hilton.

At the time of the offence he had been self-medicating with cannabis and Tramadol.

He lived alone with his mum, and cared for her, and had concerns about not being able to do that going forward because of a "catastrophic misjudgment".

Judge Everett told the trio: "You all had something to look forward to and you have thrown that away. I find it almost unbelievable that you should do what you did.

"This was a carefully planned robbery of someone you knew. It was betrayal. You knew that somebody was a vulnerable person.

"This was a robbery for greed and nothing more, and caused devastation.

"You lured him to wasteland with the supply of cannabis – I don't overlook that, though you haven't been charged with it.

"It must have been absolutely terrifying for the victim, there alone, thinking that you two were robbing him and his mate.

"This was quite sophisticated in the plan. You went back because you had forgotten the passcode. It must have been devastating for the victim to see them coming back.

"What a terrible, terrible thing to do, totally shameful. And the effect on him was utterly devastating.

"You ruined his life at a crucial part of his life. His mother is utterly devastated, you have ruined those two lives."

All three defendants must spend the sentence at a young offenders institute. In addition, an indefinite restraining order means none of them must contact the victim in any way or move within 500 metres of the victim's address.

The knives were to be forfeited and destroyed.