Duo accused of robbery spree

Nottingham Crown COurt.
Nottingham Crown COurt.

A frightened Loscoe shop assistant was threatened and forced to hold open a bag for robbers to dump £1,700 of cigarettes into, Nottingham Crown Court was told today.

Lee Watson and Dominic Wright are alleged to have carried out a series of raids over a two-week period last summer.

A jury has heard how stores in Langley Mill, Broxtowe, Loscoe, Hucknall and a petrol station kiosk at the Morrisons store in Eastwood were robbed on various dates in June and July, starting on June 27 at the Co-op in Station Road, Langley Mill.

The prosecution case states the crimes can be linked to Wright and Watson through a series of clothing items - which it says were worn by the pair during the robberies - as well as forensic evidence.

Today Jeremy Janes, representing the Crown Prosecution Service, read out a witness statement from a shop assistant at the Loggins petrol station on Heanor Road, Loscoe, following the final of the four raids on July 9, 2012.

It is alleged Wright and Watson enlisted the help of two other men to carry out the robbery just before 10pm.

She said: “Four men came through the entrance into the shop. The first man shouted something, I can’t remember what. I saw all four men all dressed in dark clothes and all wearing black balaclavas.”

The shop assistant then described how one man, alleged to be Wright, stood by the door to keep watch, holding a sharp object, while the other three jumped over the counter, attempted to unload the tills and began filling a large white sack with tobacco products. Watson is alleged to have tried to wrench a till open.

“One of them started to panic,” the woman continued. “He was shouting she’s pressed the panic button, she’s pressed the button.

“A man behind the counter shoved the bag in my hand and said get a hold of it.

“One of the other men behind the counter, trying to get into the till, asked me to open the safe but I told them I couldn’t.”

She added: “It felt like they were in the shop ages.”

In total £325 was taken, along with £1749 of tobacco products and a £25 bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey.

The gang then sped off in a silver Citroen Zara in the direction of Heanor. They were initially followed by a van driver who happened to pull into the garage forecourt as the raiders left. However the driver lost them in Langley Mill.

The vehicle was later recovered by police close to Nottingham Road in Eastwood, after it was reported as being parked blocking the road later that evening.

The following day forensics officers lifted fingerprints from the vehicle belonging to Wright and Watson, the prosecution claims.

Watson, 26, of no fixed address, and Wright, 23, of Vale Crescent South, Aspley, were arrested on July 12, but deny all five allegations.

Mr Janes has said at a previous hearing: “The issue in this case is not whether any of these robberies occurred, that is self-evident from CCTV.

“The issue is who was responsible.”

The trial continues.