A ROBBER was jailed this month in 2019, after he sprayed victims with CS gas in ‘horrendous’ Worcester raids, causing them to fear they had been attacked with acid.
Simon Edkins showed no emotion when he was jailed for six years at Worcester Crown Court after footage of the robberies was played to a judge.
The 39-year-old admitted both robberies, the first at the Co-op at Ambleside Drive in Warndon, Worcester on December 23, 2018, during which he stole £300.
The second took place at the Texaco garage in Droitwich Road, Worcester, on December 29 , 2018, where he stole £200 and tobacco.
Edkins further admitted two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon (the CS spray) which he used on both occasions, causing injury to three people as well as psychological harm.
In the Co-op robbery, that took place at 7.40pm, the injured worker was in a state of shock after the attack and was believed to have told a paramedic that he initially felt a burning sensation on his face, although he did not need to go to hospital.
A fire crew from Worcester was sent to the scene to help decontaminate the shop.
Sally Cairns, prosecuting, said of a male victim of the Co-op robbery: “He was concerned he had been sprayed with acid and describes his relief when he got home that night and the night terrors he suffered afterwards.”
The victim, a dad, also described how nervous he felt working a late shift after the robbery and how he turned up to work and ‘tried to put a brave face on it’ but felt particularly vulnerable when his colleague went for a break.
While the Texaco worker, a woman who had been employed at the petrol station for 19 years, still felt anxious a month after the robbery.
“She describes the great deal of shock caused initially,” said Miss Cairns.
“Because of what happened she could not work late at night, which left her £200 a month worse off, and did not want to work in the garage anymore.”
“She was happy going to work but now dreads it, fearing what might happen.
“She feels angry that the defendant did that to her for no reason.”
The garage worker said Edkins told her ‘I don’t want to hurt you’ but sprayed her anyway.
The court heard Edkins has 11 convictions dating back to 1999 including for criminal damage, robbery, burglary, affray, possession of drugs, shoplifting and dishonestly obtaining property by deception.
His last conviction was on June 27, 2008 when he was jailed for 66 months for two robberies at Wychbold Stores near Droitwich where he made threats with a hammer, and at a newsagents in Bromsgrove where he used an imitation firearm
In both robberies Edkins stole cash.
Miss Cairns argued that the Worcester robberies were aggravated by the defendant’s previous convictions and the use of a weapon.
Earl Pinnock, defending Edkins, said these actions had ‘ruined his recent improved character’ and that his client understood a custodial sentence was ‘inevitable’.
Mr Pinnock said Edkins was ‘deeply ashamed to see the footage here in court’ and said he was ‘remorseful’ but said it was ‘not reflected in him stopping himself from going on to commit the second robbery a few days later’.
He asked that his client be given a 25 per cent reduction in his jail term for his guilty plea but accepted that the robberies had caused significant trauma to all three victims – two in the Co-op and one in the Texaco garage.
Mr Pinnock said Edkins had lost his job and ‘fell into his old ways’.
“He’s about to pay the price,” said Mr Pinnock.
” Let us hope there is a chink of light at the end of the tunnel.”
Recorder David Chinery told Edkins the two robberies were “absolutely horrendous and one can only begin to imagine the effect upon the workers in those two stores because of your actions.”
The judge sentenced Edkins to six years in prison, half of which he must serve in custody and the other half on licence.