A 19 year old from Wigton has been sentenced today (10th January 2014) to 10 years for two counts of armed robbery, possession of a firearm with intent and dangerous driving.
Conner Newall, of no fixed address, was sentenced today at Carlisle Crown Court.
The offences occurred on the 8th November 2013, resulting in high speed pursuit across west Cumbria.
At around 1pm police received a report of a robbery of a car where a woman, 51 years old from Wigton, was sat in her parked car when Newall approached the car and threatened her with a gun. She gave him her phone and car keys. She was unharmed, though shaken by the incident.
Armed police were deployed to area and a search began for the vehicle, a dark blue Corsa, and the offender, who left the area via High Street.
At approximately 2:20pm a further robbery took place at Kirkbride Post Office, where a female staff member was threatened by Newall, who was brandishing a firearm and wearing a balaclava. Over £1,200 was stolen, and Newall made off towards Wigton in the Corsa. Again although no one was physically hurt they were extremely distressed as a result of this incident.
Police located the vehicle heading towards Abbeytown, where it was pursued at high speeds along the B5300 through Allonby, towards Maryport. It was forced to stop near Prospect on the A596.
Armed officers and the National Police Air Service (NPAS) assisted in the search for Newall.
Speaking after the sentencing DCI Mike Brown said:
“I am pleased that Newall is facing prison after his dangerous actions. Newall not only caused huge distress to the women he threatened with a gun, but could have seriously hurt or killed someone through his reckless driving.
“Thankfully no one was hurt during the incident, and today Newall faces the consequences of his actions.
“The victims in this case and the wider public provided the information that enabled the police to bring this matter to a fairly swift conclusion, without anyone getting hurt not least the defendant.
“The back story to this case is that this was all driven by the defendant’s involvement in drugs, and the debts he had accrued as a consequence. This, yet again, highlights how drugs can have such a devastating effect on people’s lives.
“Indirectly drugs have led to decent people becoming victims of serious crime, not to mention the untold long-term psychological effects that these events may have on them. In addition the family of this lad will also suffer as a result of his decision to get involved in drugs and this should yet again serve as a significant warning to others. If you get involved with drugs this can be the end result. Here is a young man that will be wasting a significant part of his life behind bars.”
Chief Superintendent Steve Johnson added:
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the officers involved in the incident for such a quick resolution to a potentially dangerous situation. The incident was handled professionally and effectively, and was a great example of how our officers work to protect our communities and to mitigate the risks presented by criminals in Cumbria.”
Anyone with any concerns around firearms please call Cumbria Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always call 999.