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Accrington teenager jailed over bookies robbery
A TEEN raider who took part in a robbery in which two women were terrorised, and told they would be shot, has been jailed for 32 months.
Cannabis addict Paul Freeman, 18, was with a masked accomplice, but was not disguised himself, when the pair burst into Paddy Power bookies, in Accrington.
Manageress Lynn Alderson and her colleague Shirley Gallagher were shutting up shop, and the premises were in darkness, when the robbery happened on October 19.
The thieves escaped with £1,100 and Freeman, who has a previous conviction for robbing a schoolboy of his bike, was arrested three days later.
He denied involvement, even though the attack on the bookmakers had been caught on CCTV. The two women were left traumatised by what happened, suffered sleepless nights and loss of appetite, and had to have time off work, Burnley Crown Court was told.
Freeman, now a new dad, who has a history of anti-social behaviour and flouting court orders, was sent to a young offenders’ institution after admitting robbery.
Judge Christopher Cornwall slammed Freeman, of Pendle Street, Accrington, as a bully and told him: “You don't deserve to live within the community. You can’t.”
Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said just before 10.30pm, the two women were walking out of the shop when two men, one wearing a balaclava, burst in.
Freeman was wearing a cap, but was not disguised and his face was visible.
The man in the balaclava pushed Mrs Alderson and told her: “Give me the money, or I’ll shoot you.”
She did not know if the robbers were armed, and went to the safe area, switching on the lights so it was all recorded on camera.
Mark Stuart, defending, said: “He was not the ringleader. Of that, there is no doubt.”
He said Freeman had spent far too much of his youth either taking drugs, hanging around with the wrong crowd, or committing offences himself.
The barrister said: “He may be a big fish in Accrington, but he’s obviously a much smaller fish when he’s in Forrest Bank prison.
“If anything is going to work, it may be this first taste of custody”
Sentencing, Judge Corn-wall said: “The money really doesn’t matter very much in these proceedings. What matters are people, your fellow citizens, decent people who go out to work and are entitled not to be treated in the way in which you, and the other man, treated them.”