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'Armed' raiders robbed bookies; PAIR MADE GETAWAY ON 'UNDER-SIZED' BIKES.

Byline: ROB KENNEDY Court Reporter rob.kennedy@reachplc.com @ChronicleCourt

TWO masked robbers held up a bookies with an imitation firearm made out of pipes in a bin bag - then made their getaway on push bikes that were too small for them.

Mark Taylor and Mark Haig stormed a Betfred branch in Gateshead with what looked like a shotgun in a bin liner, pointing it at a female deputy manager. Having got their hands on just PS80, they fled, riding away on under-sized bikes.

A court heard Haig and two other men - Carl Lambert and Graeme McRobie - also carried out heists at two hairdressing salons, stealing thousands of pounds of goods including beauty products.

Now all four men, who all have lengthy criminal records, have been jailed at Newcastle Crown Court.

Judge Jeremy Freedman told Taylor and Haig: "Although the deputy manager was relatively stoical and didn't believe it was a firearm that could be operated, it was nonetheless a terrifying and traumatic experience." " The raid took place at Betfred inHe pointed imitation in the deputy and said 'of your Dunston on September 22 this year around 9.10am.

Taylor, who was wearing a high visibility jacket, and Haig, both wearing balaclavas, approached the counter.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister said: "One of them was carrying a black bin bag wrapped round what appeared to be a shotgun barrel, or two bits of piping.

"He pointed the imitation weapon in the face of the deputy manager and said 'give us all of your money'."

After initially saying there was no money, she threw PS80 at them, which they picked up and ran out.

There was a customer in the shop at the time, who said one of the robbers had a screwdriver and the other the imitation gun.

Haig, Lambert and McRobie struck at the Fine Cuts salon, in Gateshead, on December 22 last year.

They carried out an untidy search, leaving glass all over the floor, all the drawers open and there were hair products on the floor. Cash, hair products and staff Christmas presents were stolen, the total value of the stolen items being more than PS700.

The trio then struck at Belle Boutique, in Gateshead, between December 30 and January 2, breaking in through a rear window.

They again made a mess, with property strewn all over the floor.

A large amount of nail products, cash, jewellery and a 55-inch TV were stolen - the total value being more than PS4,600.

Lambert also took part in a burglary at a five-bedroom family home in Teams, Gateshead, in May.

While a mother and children were asleep upstairs, almost PS10,000 was stolen - which was waiting to be banked by the man of the house, who owns petrol stations.

A Lexus car worth PS36,000 was also stolen in the raid but was later recovered. Other items taken included a handbag, bank cards, a further PS500, a mobile phone and watch.

Lambert, who pleaded guilty on the basis he waited outside while someone else went in, left his mobile phone at the scene, linking him to the offence.

the weapon of the manager give us all money' Taylor, 37, of Redheugh Court, Low Teams, Gateshead, and Haig, 45, of Redheugh Court, Low Teams, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to robbery, possessing an imitation firearm and possessing an offensive weapon.

Haig, Lambert, 34, of Brinkburn Avenue, Swalwell, Gateshead, and McRobie, 39, of Stratford Court, Allerdene, Gateshead, all admitted two counts of commercial burglaries and Lambert also admitted the house burglary and theft of the Lexus.

Taylor was jailed for three years and four months, Haig got four years and eight months, Lambert got four years and McRobie got 16 months.

Jamie Adams, for Taylor, said he has spent time in a mental health unit, is remorseful and shocked by his behaviour as he would never hurt a woman. The court was told Haig is remorseful and ashamed of what he did and he accepts his drug addiction and "hanging round with the wrong crowd" is no excuse for his behaviour.

Kate Barnes, for Lambert, said: "He has been addicted to drugs and is abstinent for the first time in many, many years."

Crown Court. Freedman told Although was and in around wearing a Lambert, who on the basis while left his the to and pleaded imitation possessing weapon. He pointed the imitation weapon in the face of the deputy manager and said 'give us all of your money' Prosecution

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Mark Haig
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 15, 2018
Words:751
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