Drink at the root of the prob­lems be­hind garage raid

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - By JOHN HAWKINS [email protected]­plc.com

THE Chel­tenham man who raided a petrol sta­tion for a pasty and two bot­tles of wine threat­ened to come back and shoot the staff mem­ber who tried to de­tain him, a judge heard.

Leigh Heas­man, 29, of no fixed abode, was jailed for nine months at Glouces­ter Crown Court.

Heas­man pleaded guilty to rob­bing San­jay Ma­hen­drara­jah on New Year’s Day.

Pros­e­cu­tor Ja­nine Wood told the judge, Recorder Paul Grum­bar, Heas­man ar­rived at the Esso garage on Bris­tol Road, Glouces­ter, at 10.50pm.

Mr Ma­hen­drara­jah was the lone staff mem­ber and noted Heas­man spend­ing about five min­utes look­ing at the wine sec­tion, Mrs Wood ex­plained.

Heas­man picked up two bot­tles of wine and at­tempted to leave, but Mr Ma­hen­drara­jah ‘chal­lenged him and locked the door’ the pros­e­cu­tor told the judge.

Mrs Wood said: “The de­fen­dant made threats to come back and shoot him if he did not open the door and let him leave, but Mr Ma­hen­drara­jah re­fused un­til he re­placed the wine.”

Heas­man as­saulted Mr Ma­hen­drara­jah with ‘some kick­ing’ and in the en­su­ing strug­gle, Mr Ma­hen­drara­jah fell back into fridges with var­i­ous items knocked over.

“The de­fen­dant then smashed the bot­tles of wine and Mr Ma­hen­drara­jah opened the door,” Mrs Wood said.

Heas­man propped open the door, picked up two fur­ther bot­tles of wine and left, the pros­e­cu­tor said.

Po­lice of­fi­cers were able to iden­tify Heas­man from CCTV footage and he was ar­rested on Jan­uary 19.

The court heard that in his po­lice in­ter­view he said “I suf­fer with anx­i­ety, I pan­icked.”

Heas­man caused £90 worth of dam­age and Mr Ma­hen­drara­jah’s mo­bile phone was bro­ken.

In a vic­tim state­ment he said: “I was ex­tremely fright­ened by the vi­o­lent be­hav­iour. I should not have to put up with this. I am just try­ing to make a liv­ing.

“Cus­tomers are nor­mally friendly. I am wor­ried he will re­turn and carry out the threats he made that night.”

The court heard Heas­man had a record of 16 pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for 36 of­fences.

Recorder Grum­bar said: “There is a prob­lem here. This man is not re­duc­ing his of­fend­ing, get­ting worse, drink­ing.

“A man work­ing on his own at a ser­vice sta­tion, he is vul­ner­a­ble at night. It’s quite a se­ri­ous po­si­tion.”

Lyall Thomp­son, de­fend­ing, said the theft was mo­ti­vated by drink.

He said: “He needs to grow out of this. It started out as a sim­ple shoplift­ing.

“He went in to steal bot­tles of wine and a pasty.

“The shop­keeper re­acted in the way he did and he re­acted badly to be­ing en­closed and did not wait for the po­lice to come.

“He wasn’t drunk, but wanted to be drunk. It was his al­co­holism that prompted him to get some food and wine. He re­acted badly to the shop­keeper clos­ing him in.”

The judge heard this was not sup­ported by pro­ba­tion who felt they ‘could not man­age the risks he posed to the pub­lic in the com­mu­nity.’

The judge said: “His dif­fi­cul­ties are get­ting worse. The level of dan­ger to the pub­lic is get­ting worse. “This case is what one would ex­pect given that di­ag­no­sis, in or­der to get some drink.”

Im­pos­ing the nine month jail term, Recorder Grum­bar told Heas­man: “You per­sis­tently get drunk.

“You are per­sis­tently vi­o­lent to get drink, and carry on com­mit­ting of­fences.

“You have been in trou­ble twice since this hap­pened. Pro­ba­tion say you fail to re­spond.”

He con­tin­ued: “This of­fence caused the vic­tim con­sid­er­able anx­i­ety and worry.

“He was fright­ened by your ap­palling be­hav­iour.

“You need to stop drink­ing and keep out of trou­ble.

“Re­luc­tantly I am go­ing to pass a pri­son sen­tence on you.

“The least sen­tence I can pass is nine months im­pris­on­ment.

“Hope­fully you will have time to re­flect and not re­of­fend on your re­lease.

There is a prob­lem here. This man is not re­duc­ing his of­fend­ing, get­ting worse, drink­ing Recorder Paul Grum­bar

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