Teesside judge praises bravery of woman shop assistant after frightening Hartlepool Premier store robbery

A judge hailed the bravery of a female shop worker who tried to stop two shoplifters making off with stolen chocolate.
Bradley Doyle (top left) and Kane Sutheran admitted robbing of the former Premier convenience store in Osborne Road, Hartlepool.Bradley Doyle (top left) and Kane Sutheran admitted robbing of the former Premier convenience store in Osborne Road, Hartlepool.
Bradley Doyle (top left) and Kane Sutheran admitted robbing of the former Premier convenience store in Osborne Road, Hartlepool.

The lone assistant was manhandled by Bradley Doyle and Kane Sutheran when she blocked the doorway of the Premier store, in Osborne Road, Hartlepool, after Doyle tried to steal £80 of confectionery.

What began as a shoplifting then turned into a robbery when Doyle, 24, threatened he had a knife, Teesside Crown Court heard.

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Doyle grabbed a handful of chocolate from the counter after he was told to leave due to being barred from the store.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said: “The shop assistant went to the door to stop him leaving.

“At this point Sutheran grabbed hold of her arms and tried to move her out of the way.

"There was also a confrontation with Doyle who at one point pushed his forearm into her neck. She was shouting ‘leave me alone’.

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“Doyle put his hand in his pocket and said ‘If you don’t let me out I will get the knife out.”

Mr Dryden added: “She was frightened because she was working alone at the time and she fears it could happen again.

“She was particularly frightened when Doyle said he had a knife.”

Both suspects were identified by police from the shop’s CCTV and later admitted robbery.

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Paul Abrahams, mitigating for Doyle, of Middleton Road, Hartlepool, said he has taken good steps towards rehabilitation and has been working on certificates while on remand in prison.

Tabitha Buck for Sutheran, aged 23, of Victory Gardens, Stillington, said he played a lesser role in the robbery and got involved in crime due to being homeless at the time.

He was also dealt with for two thefts from Sainsbury’s and one from The Entertainer toy shop leading up to the robbery on August 12 last year.

Judge Stephen Ashurst said immediate custody was the only option for such a case involving a lone female shop worker and jailed each defendant for two and a half years.

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"It’s quite clear from the CCTV there was a considerable struggle,” he said. “Shelving units were rocking.”

But Judge Ashurst said the victim “was made of strong stuff and she was determined not to let you get away with your offending”.