Darren Bland gets six years for two raids in Eccleshill

First published in News

A drug addict father-of-three has been jailed for six years after he used a “blood-filled” syringe during two raids on commercial premises in Eccleshill.

Darren Bland, 40, who was with an accomplice, was carrying a syringe containing a red liquid when they confronted a female member of staff at the Lister’s newsagents and convenience store in Stone Hall Road.

Prosecutor Zoe Bruce told Bradford Crown Court how the robbers were both wearing disguises and Bland's accomplice was armed with a knife.

Miss Bruce said Bland told the woman the syringe did contain blood, and the pair demanded the takings.

The court heard that the pair stole about £800 and the female worker was left frightened by the incident, on Friday, May 31.

Just two days later Bland went into the Betfred bookmakers office in Norman Lane, this time on his own, and again used the syringe to try and get a female staff member to hand over cash.

Bland, of no fixed address, was alleged to have told the woman: “Give me your money. There’s blood in this needle. I’ll stab you with it.”

Despite Bland’s threats the employee refused to hand over the cash and he left the premises empty handed.

Yesterday, Bland pleaded guilty to charges of robbery and attempted robbery.

Lawyer Julian White, for Bland, said his client had received a six-year jail sentence in 2002, but since then he had gone back to his trade as a joiner and had been able to lead an honest life.

But Mr White said Bland’s underlying problem with drugs had returned and that had clouded his judgement.

Judge Durham Hall told Bland he had instilled great fear in the complainant in the store and the offence was a very serious robbery indeed.

Bland was jailed for four and a half years in relation to the store robbery with an additional 18 months for the attempted robbery at the bookmakers.

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