Hartlepool robbers beaten off by road workers after they tried to steal tools

Two robbers who were beaten off by brave road workers as they tried to steal valuable tools have been jailed.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 12:14 pm
Updated Monday, 27th January 2020, 1:29 pm

The men from Murphy’s were tarmacing in central Hartlepool at 9.30am on October 29 when robbers David Herbert, 32, and Liam Gascoigne, 29, rode up on push bikes.

Herbert said aggressively that they were going to steal a Stihl saw, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Herbert said: “Give us that here or there’s going to be trouble”, the court was told.

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Liam Gascoigne and David Herbert
Liam Gascoigne and David Herbert

Gascoigne grabbed the Stilh saw and started to cycle off with it, and Herbert picked up a long-handled broom and swung it at workman Michael McGowan’s head.

Prosecutor Jenny Haigh said Mr McGowan raised his arm to defend himself, and when Herbert took another swing at his head he stopped it with a shovel he was holding, snapping the broom on impact.

Herbert backed off as Mr McGowan advanced towards him with the shovel, but then he picked up a large metal tarmac rake and began swinging it at him hitting him on his left arm causing a wound that later needed two stitches.

Herbert began smashing windows in the workers’ truck, after which other members of the crew tackled him to the ground and restrained him while Mr McGowan took two photos of him on his mobile phone, the court was told.

David Herbert

When the first police officer arrived on the scene in Milbank Road he chased Herbert who was riding away on his bike just as he dropped a baseball bat and a wooden club

Mr McGowan said later: “It was pure adrenaline and survival instinct that made me act as I did.

”I’m quite a strong character but no one should ever have to face this sort of situation when at work.

”The male was a lunatic and he was clearly prepared to injure me just to steal a few tools.

Liam Gascoigne

Miss Haigh said the prosecution accepted Gascoigne made off before the incident became extremely violent.

Both men had previous convictions for violence and had served prison sentences

Stephen Constantine, defending father-of-three Herbert, said that he had been addicted to crack cocaine and he accepted that it was a serious case of violence.

He wished to apologise to the workmen and he was working in prison to stay off drugs for life and to be a credit to his family

Rod Hunt, defending Gascoigne, said it was an opportunistic offence for him and he had left on his bike when the violence took place

The judge Recorder Darren Preston said both men’s position was serious because of their “terrible” records and convictions for violence

Herbert of Allerton Close, Hartlepool, was jailed for 50 months after he pleaded guilty to robbery, possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage, and Gascoigne formerly of Hartlepool but of no fixed address, was jailed for 33 months after he pleaded guilty to robbery.