Violent thug terrorised two vulnerable victims for cash

John Robbins
John Robbins

A violent drunk who terrorised vulnerable men into giving him cash was jailed for almost three years.

Convicted robber John Robbins, 31, took almost £1,000 from two terrified victims in Hartlepool.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

He barged into one man’s home at 5.30am and he stayed there for three hours.

A woman neighbour of the second man heard shouting coming from his flat and she found Robbins drunk and standing over him shouting.

Prosecutor Jenny Haigh told Teesside Crown Court the man had his head in his hands pleading: “Please, leave me alone”, and he was frightened and distressed.

She said Robbins took £700 from one man for repairs on his car which were never completed.

Robbins told the man he needed money to buy a present for his daughter’s seventh birthday, and he marched him to a cash machine where he drew out £150.

Miss Haigh added: “He felt that he had been targeted as a vulnerable person.

“He said ‘I was taken in by his sob story’.”

A few days later Robbins went to the man’s flat again and told him that there were people outside who were going to attack him (Robbins). He said he wanted money to make them go away.

The man gave him £40 thinking that he was saving Robbins from being hurt.

Miss Haigh said Robbins had been jailed twice for robberies, and he had been arrested in a street fracas in possession of a baseball bat.

He was subject to a deferred prison sentence when he targeted the men in April and May.

He stole a woman’s handbag from her car boot on a town centre car park in Hartlepool last October.

Her friend used her phone to photograph him and police identified him from the shot.

She said: “The Crown should say that culpability in the fraud offences was high because he was targeting vulnerable victims, and the harm was high.”

Stephen Constantine, defending, said that Robbins had been doing drug and alcohol rehabilitation schemes while in prison on remand.

The judge imposed an indefinite restraining order banning him from contacting one of the victims.

Judge Sean Morris told him: “These were nasty, calculated frauds of depriving two vulnerable men of money. You are self-centred and criminally-orientated. Next time you come out and commit crime again the sentence will be a lot longer.”

Robbins, of Tiverton Road, Hartlepool, was jailed for two years and 10 months after he pleaded guilty to three offences of fraud by false representation, two shop thefts, theft from a car, and burglary at a bakery when he stole a worker’s handbag.