A court has heard how two men involved in a Bonfire Night robbery at a Rhyl store were caught after police discovered a text message about the raid.
Barry Bolton and Anthony Lloyd were jailed for 3 years and 8 months each after they pleaded guilty to the hold up at the One Stop Shop on Grange Road last November. A third man, who threatened staff with a hammer, was not charged.
Bolton (24) was acting as a lookout as Lloyd (29) and his accomplice took £503 from the shop and fled towards Rhuddlan. They targeted the store just as two staff members were just about to lock up – one of the masked men lifted the hammer and told the staff to open the tills.
But after the raid, Bolton, from Kinmel Bay, wrote a draft text message which wasn’t sent – it read ”we have done the One Stop Shop last night but ended up with f*** all”. Bolton denied to police he was involved despite the message, which he claimed had been done out of bravado. But on the same phone, officers also found a photo of the shop and an online search for the address.
The defence said father-of-two Lloyd, from Towyn, had served prison time before. He intended to lead a constructive life and setup a car wash which failed. He ended up owing cash for both the business and the drugs.
Bolton, who had also been in prison, admitted he was the getaway driver and apologised. He accepted he had let himself and his family down and was prepared for his longest jail term yet, which would have a knock-on effect on contact with his young daughter.
Sentencing the pair, Judge David Hale at Mold Crown Court, said it was a joint enterprise crime regardless of who was the getaway driver or whether there was a third person involved. He added staff working late shifts in convenience stores must know they will be protected by the law in the event of a robbery.
In reaction to the jail sentences, Detective Sergeant Chris Bell of North Wales Police said Bolton and Lloyd had caused ”fear in the local community and traumatised their victims”.
At an earlier hearing, Lloyd was also accused of another robbery at the North Wales Garden Centre in Kinmel Bay the night before – he pleaded not guilty to stealing jackets but the charge was allowed to remain on file.