Robber’s ‘amateur’ disguise in attempt to rob jewellery store
AN “AMATEURISH” thug armed with a BB gun tried to rob a jewellery store while dressed in a wig and sunglasses.
Warren Debnam burst into Collingwood Gold in Southport and demanded cash from terrified assistant Karen Hassall.
He ordered Ms Hassall and her colleague, Karen Beninson, to empty a safe, but they explained it had a time-lock delay.
The 31-year-old, of no fixed address, decided to flee and shouted at them to open the door so he could make his escape.
But he was caught on CCTV and easily recognised after he sped off in a green Mazda, stolen eight days previously.
Kim Egerton, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court the incident happened at about 9.30am on May 13 this year.
Police released a CCTV image of Debnam in his disguise and appealed for information via the Visiter about the incident in Tulketh Street.
He was recognised by other officers and residents and arrested on July 15 in the Cheshire area, when he made no comment.
Debnam was picked out in an identity parade, but told an officer in his cell that he had been at a family celebration.
Ms Hassall said she had worked in jewellery stores for some 18 years but had never previously been the victim of a robbery.
She told the court that she had decided to quit her job because she couldn’t face returning to the store after taking time off
She said that she couldn’t sleep while Debnam was still at large and sometimes she would “jump out of her skin”.
Ms Hassall added that she now found it hard to trust strangers and was suspicious of customers, who instinctively made her panic.
Debnam admitted attempted robbery, having an imitation firearm with intent to rob and driving a conveyance taken without authority.
He has 15 previous con- victions for 23 offences dating back to 2002, including dishonesty and assaults.
Charles Lander, defending, said that his client wrote letters of apology to the the two women, who suffered “fear and terror”.
He said that it was a relatively short incident, but conceded: “One could understand for those two ladies, time stood still”.
Mr Lander said “amateurish” Debnam was quickly identified because he often wore the same clothes and sunglasses.
He was a cocaine user whose addiction had spiralled out of control and “stupidly” decided to raid a local shop.
Mr Lander said Debnam’s girlfriend was pregnant, adding: “There is a lot for this defendant to look forward to upon his release.”
Judge Elizabeth Nicholls said Debnam brandished the gun and threatened the two terrified women.
She said: “The fact this is an imitation firearm makes a difference to the sentence you will receive.
“But of course the impact on both the women in this case is the same because they did not know this was an imitation firearm.
“One can see from the CCTV I have watched that frankly they were terrified by the experience.”
Judge Nicholls accepted he was “genuinely remorseful” and jalied him for three years and four months.
Warren Debnam, 31, inset, disguised himself with a wig and sunglasses to try to rob a jewellers shop
Collingwood Gold in Tulketh Street, where Warren Debnam used a BB gun in his failed hold-up