3:02pm Friday 13th September 2013
TWO young yobs with more than 120 crimes on their records were behind bars last night for a brutal shop robbery while high on drink and drugs.
Anthony Gent, 21, and 22-year-old pal Adam Leonard were jailed for six years after a judge heard how the attack has left the victim traumatised.
Redcar shopkeeper Nirmal Singh was smashed in the face with a baseball bat moments after they went into the store at night and demanded cash.
The grandfather was left bleeding and badly injured on the floor as the hooded pair - both with previous convictions for robbery - fled with his till.
Teesside Crown Court heard that the thugs had gone to snatch alcohol but battered Mr Singh as soon as he walked in from his adjoining home.
In an impact statement read to the court, he said: "If they had just wanted the money, I would have given them it. This was disgraceful."
He added: "The level of violence was uncalled for...I hope the they are removed from the streets so they can't do this to anybody else."
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, told the pair: "It doesn't need me to spell out to you that you are two very dangerous young men.
"You thought nothing of your victim. You were entirely and utterly selfish. You did this for your own selfish needs - your need for alcohol."
Leonard had been on a four-day bender with booze, mephedrone, sleeping pills and amphetamine - and went to the shop when his drink ran out.
Gent had been boozing and taking tranquillisers before the pair hatched the plan to swipe more alcohol, his barrister, Nigel Soppitt, told the court.
"He is a young man who realises it has gone far enough, and he knows he faces a significant sentence," he said. "But, he is not beyond redemption."
Richard Bennett, for Leonard, said: "I have to concede he has an appalling record. He wishes it to be known it was he who wielded the bat.
"They went in having agreed an alcohol snatch and looked to make sure he was not there. The shopkeeper came out and it went badly wrong."
Prosecutor Emma Atkinson told the court Mr Singh suffered a fractured cheekbone in the June raid, and has since had trouble sleeping and panic attacks.
He said in his statement that he is wary when working after 9pm, and if anyone comes in with a hood, he asks them to lower it or leave the shop.
"In 31 years, there has hardly been any trouble," he said. "These premises are also my home, and it could have been a lot worse if my grandchildren had been here."
Gent, of Scott Street, Redcar, and Leonard, of Bradhope Road, Middlesbrough, admitted robbery after being found by police in a house nearby with the £200 they stole.
The court heard that Gent had 76 offences on his record, including a robbery in 2008, arson the following year, and assaulting a prison officer.
Leonard has robbery and arson on his tally of 53 offences, as well as imprisoning a fellow inmate at a youth jail and holding him at knife point.
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