Stoke & Staffordshire

Stafford Tesco Express machete armed robbers jailed

Gavin Milgate and Scott Stretton Image copyright Staffordshire Police
Image caption (L-R) Gavin Milgate and Scott Stretton threatened staff with a carving knife and a machete

Two armed robbers who were caught when they tried to check into a hotel with 12 bin bags of cigarettes, cash and spirits have been jailed.

Gavin Milgate and Scott Stretton had threatened staff at Tesco Express in Stafford with a machete on 4 October.

The pair, both 34, pleaded guilty to the robbery in Stone Road. Milgate was sentenced to five years and three months and Stretton, six years.

Staff at a Holiday Inn in Walsall were suspicious and called police.

The duo, who were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court, later bought suitcases and hid them in undergrowth with the cash inside. They were arrested upon their return to the hotel.

In total the pair stole cigarettes worth about £8,340 and £8,700 in cash. They also took spirits and razors to the combined value of about £300.

Three female members of staff were closing the store when the duo threatened them with a carving knife and a machete between 23:15 GMT and midnight.

Image copyright Staffordshire Police
Image caption CCTV from the Tesco shows the men stealing cigarettes

One staff member's car was stolen after she was told told to reverse it to the back doors of the shop.

When she stalled the car, one of the men pressed a knife to her throat and said: "If you stall one more time I'll slit your throat."

Det Con Kathryn Middleton, of Staffordshire Police, said: "This was a terrifying ordeal for the staff members."

She added: "We'd like to commend them for their bravery and resilience. We're delighted these men were arrested swiftly and are now behind bars."

Milgate, of no fixed address, was sentenced for robbery, two counts of possession of an offensive weapon and theft of a motor vehicle.

Stretton, of Young Avenue, Holmcroft, Stafford, was sentenced for robbery and two counts of possession of an offensive weapon.

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