Robbers jailed after targeting taxi driver while armed with knife and hammer in Hartlepool

Two men who robbed a taxi driver armed with a knife and a hammer have been jailed for a total of 11 years.

Luke Dobie robbed the taxi driver and a woman assistant of a Spar shop.

Luke Dobie

Luke Dobie

William Harrison also took part in the taxi driver robbery during which he brandished a hammer.

Both men used hoods and scarves in a bid to hid their identities, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Dobie was also dealt with for a separate offence of dangerous driving during which he led police on a chase in Hartlepool before crashing the car.

"The dangerous driving was the first of the offending on January 10," said Sam Faulks, prosecuting.

William Harrison

William Harrison

"Police saw three men in Vauxhall Corsa which sped off at speed when they indicated for it to stop.

"Dobie, who had his hood up, was the driver.

"The police patrol lost sight of the Corsa briefly near Masefield Road, when they next saw it there was only Dobie inside.

"He mounted the kerb and crashed into a wall, the car coming to rest because it was unable to fit through the narrow gap."

The court heard Dobie, Harrison, and another man robbed the taxi driver late in the evening of February 4.

"The driver was booked to pick up at an address in Hartlepool," said Mr Faulks.

"Upon arrival he was approached by three men, all wearing scarves and hooded tops.

"He wound down his window and Dobie reached in and grabbed the keys to the taxi.

"Dobie was brandishing a knife, and Harrison had a small hammer.

"The driver gave Dobie his wallet, and was then told to get out of the taxi.

"All three men got into the taxi and Dobie drove off in it.

"The taxi was later found a short distance away in Kilmarnock Road.

"Two days later, Dobie robbed the Spar shop in Wynyard Road."

Mr Faulks said the assistant was behind the till on her own because a colleague had gone to make a cup of tea when Dobie walked in.

"He produced a knife and demanded money," added Mr Faulks.

"He banged the knife handle on the till so hard the cash drawer popped open, but Dobie was unable to remove the cash tray.

"Dobie picked up the entire till and left the shop with it, getting away with £343."

Dobie, 21, of Rugby Street, Hartlepool, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, two offences of possession of a bladed article, and two offences of robbery.

Harrison, 19, formerly of Lealholm Road, Hartlepool, admitted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

Stephen Constantine, for Dobie, said: "Earlier this year he was introduced to crack cocaine, and he is testament to its highly addictive nature.

"This offending, while serious, was over a relatively short period of time.

"He has been in custody since February, and has been availing himself of treatment for his drug problem while in prison."

Kieran Rainey, for Harrison, said he is still a relatively young man who has the capacity to change.

"He fell into bad company," added Mr Rainey. "When his mother heard of what he'd done she burst into tears.

"The family moved in to help and relocated Mr Harrison to the Bradford area to live and work with an uncle.

"There is still work for him there when he is released."

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton jailed Dobie for six years, six months, and jailed Harrison for four years, six months.

The judge told the pair: "You are both still relatively young, but this was serious offending.

"Taxi drivers and shop workers are just doing their jobs, they deserve protection from the courts."

Dobie was disqualified from driving for five years.