A Pembroke Dock man has been jailed by Swansea Crown Court after forcing an 18-year-old shop assistant to open the till in the town’s newsagents and making off with almost £300 in cash.
Anthony Bentley, 49, entered Spencer’s newsagents at around 4pm on April 1 and pushed his way past the assistant to get to the till. He then demanded that she opened it.
The assistant, who was alone at the time, attempted to ring the newsagents’ owners on her mobile phone to alert them of what was happening, but Bentley began threatening her.
“He told her that he wasn’t afraid of her, and snatched her mobile phone out of her hand,” counsel for the Crown, Ian Wright, KC, told the court.
The assistant was forced to open the till at which point Bentley grabbed a handful of £20 notes before pushing her aside and running out of the premises.
Footage of the robbery which was captured by a CCTV camera installed inside the newsagents was played to the court.
An hour after the offence, police officers tracked Bentley down to a nearby property where he was found hiding inside a wardrobe.
He was in possession of cash totalling £60 as well as a silver wrap which was found to contain a brown powder.
“So he’d obviously bought drugs with the money that he’d stolen in the robbery,” added Ian Wright.
Two months earlier Bentley was seen removing a trolley full of electrical and household items from the B&M store in Pembroke Dock totalling £229.56.The stolen items included a microwave oven and a George Foreman grill
“He pushed the trolley straight past the tills and out into the car park,” continued Ian Wright.
A staff member went up to him and asked him to return the items to the shop, however Bentley became verbally abusive towards her, claiming his wife was inside the store with the receipt of purchase.
He then pushed the trolley towards the member of staff, climbed into this vehicle and drove off.
Bentley currently has 25 previous convictions for burglary offences committed between 1985 and 2021 and two convictions of robbery including one where he threatened his victim with a machete.
Bentley pleaded guilty to the charges of theft and robbery via a video link from Swansea Prison where he has been remanded in custody since the latest offence in April.
He was represented by defence counsel Mr James Hartson, KC, who attributed the offences to his client’s return to heroin addiction.
“His brother died in his arms a few years ago, since when his addiction has worsened,” he said.
“He committed this in the broad light of day, in a town where he was known and where the shop is covered by a CCTV camera. Even though this doesn’t excuse this type of behaviour, it informs the court of the situation that he found himself in at the time.”
Bentley was sentenced to four years and 11 months in custody. Half of this sentence will be spent in prison while the remainder will be spent on licence.
“You will be 50 later this year so that should be the time to make decisions about these pernicious drugs that you take,” commented Judge Huw Rees.
“The offending has underlined the desperation under which you were being affected by your use of drugs.”