Attempted robbery: Four sent to prison

Bristol Crown Court.

Bristol Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

Four men who attempted to rob Pill Post Office, brandishing weapons including a meat cleaver, have been sent to prison this afternoon (Friday).

Michael Nugent

Michael Nugent - Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Ashley Mullen, Jack McNeill, Cy Sedgeman and Michael Nugent appeared at Bristol Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to charges of attempted robbery and aggravated vehicle taking relating to the incident on January 5.

At about 12.30pm on that day, all four men pulled up outside of the Baltic Place store on one motorbike which had been stolen from outside of a house in Bristol three days earlier.

Two of them burst into the shop and ran to the cash tills at the rear, which sit behind Perspex glass screens, one remained with the motorbike and the other stood in the doorway holding the meat cleaver above his head. All were wearing hooded tops and scarves to cover their faces.

Among the commotion, one of the men shouted to the staff ‘give me your money, give me your money’ while another tried to unsuccessfully open a security door to the back of the till area. One of the men was also holding a screwdriver.

Cy Sedgeman

Cy Sedgeman - Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

A member of staff, described in court as ‘showing remarkable courage’ by prosecutor Sam Jones, told them to get out of the shop, before one of the men then threw packets of chewing gum at her.

However, on realising they were not going to get any money, the men left the shop empty-handed less than a minute after they entered.

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A number of customers were in the shop at the time of the raid, including a grandmother with her six-year-old granddaughter and an elderly woman, none of whom were able to get out.

However, one staff member did push the store’s silent panic alarm, alerting police to the incident, with officers quickly arriving at the scene.

Jack McNeill

Jack McNeill - Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Not long after, PC Philip Huggett spotted a Vauxhall Astra car which one witness said they had seen the men climb into after dumping the motorbike. After following it for a short distance, they forced the driver to pull over.

In the car were the four men who carried out the attempted robbery, along with the clothes they had worn and the meat cleaver. All were then arrested.

Today, Mullen, aged 24 of no fixed abode; McNeill, aged 23 of no fixed abode; Sedgeman, aged 22 of Awdlett Close, Bristol, and Nugent, aged 18 of Rose Court, Bristol, were all sentenced to three years and eight months in prison for attempted robbery. They were also sentenced to four months for aggravated vehicle taking, to run concurrently, and banned from driving for two years.

His honour Judge Michael Roach said: “They are all relatively young men, all young men who have been before the courts on many occasions before.

Ashley Mullen

Ashley Mullen - Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

“Each has a prolific list of previous offences recorded against them.

“Each of the defendants knew that the meat cleaver and the screw driver were being carried by one of their colleagues.

“Each of the defendants come from a deprived background, each has his own individual problems.

“They set about in a determined way to try to rob these premises.

“They failed but that does not reduce the sentence that might otherwise be applicable.

“You will serve a proportion of your sentence and have credit for what has already been served.

“But even when you leave prison, it will hang over each of your heads.”

Following today’s sentencing, investigating officer Detective Constable Carolyn Olsen said: “These men all played a pivotal role in the robbery attempt at Pill Post Office.

“This was a frightening ordeal for the customers and staff inside the store and the fact one of the men had a meat cleaver would have caused additional concern and anxiety.

“With the assistance of members of the public we were able to locate and arrest the men involved within 10 minutes of the offence happening.”