'Cool' raider let armed masked gang into gems shop

7:00am Wednesday 14th November 2012

By Jenny Loweth

A 19-year-old man has been locked up for three and a half years for his part in an armed robbery at a Bradford city centre pawnbroker.

Ryan Robinson was as “cool as a cucumber” when he let two raiders in balaclavas, brandishing an axe and a hammer, into Nathan & Co on James Street, a court heard.

They smashed up a display case and fled with gold Asian jewellery valued at £13,000.

Robinson, of Croscombe Walk, Bowling, Bradford, pleaded guilty to the robbery at 2.50pm on Monday, October 8.

Prosecutor Heather Weir said the two men in balaclavas and the man driving the blue Audi getaway car were still at large.

Mrs Weir told the court that staff at the shop kept the door locked because of security fears.

CCTV was played in court showing Robinson trying the door, going away and returning to get in by following customers.

He then wedged the door open with his foot to let in the two masked robbers.

Mrs Weir said the female staff ran upstairs to activate the security alarm while terrified customers dashed out into the street.

As the two robbers fled with their spoils, Robinson grabbed gold bangles for himself.

The shop’s smoke screen security system then activated. Robinson, who was not wearing a disguise, was arrested after police examined the CCTV footage.

He told detectives: “They made me do it. I just held the door. They know people.”

He said he was picked up by three men and forced to take part in the robbery because he owed money.

Robinson said the raiders took the jewellery he had stolen.

In mitigation, the court heard that he was not the “leading light” in the robbery. His role was to hold the door open. The offence was planned by others and he was under pressure to take part.

Judge Roger Thomas QC said Robinson was as “cool as a cucumber” when he walked into the shop, hands in pockets, to let the masked raiders in.

Customers must have been terrified as the three men helped themselves to jewellery.

“You took a real part in what went on here and you’ve been caught,” the judge said.

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