Letchworth shopkeeper whose post office was held up by teenager with imitation firearm relieved after 17-year-old jailed for three years

Robert Middleton in the Post Office in Willian.

Robert Middleton in the Post Office in Willian. - Credit: Archant

A shopkeeper whose post office was held up by a teenager with an imitation firearm is relieved that the incident has been put to bed after the teenager was jailed for three years.

Robert Middleton was the victim of an attempted robbery in April of last year, when a teenager walked into Willian Stores in Willian Road and demanded money twice while pointing what looked like a real gun.

After Robert’s wife, Sue, rang the panic button which alerted the police to the fact that the shop was being raided, the teenager scarpered empty-handed, but not without a chase from the retired policeman.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested five days later, and sentenced to three years imprisonment at Cambridge Crown Court last week, after being found guilty of attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.

Mr Middleton told the Comet in September last year that the police and Crown Prosecution Service had not treated this offence seriously enough, forcing him to appeal against the decision not to prosecute.

This was after the CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

Mr Middleton said: “I think it is absolutely scandalous that the CPS did not prosecute initially.

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“But I am happy it has been resolved now.

“It is not right to gloat after someone has been found guilty.

“For a while we did not feel safe, and my wife in particular was quite affected by it.

“We did think about shutting up shop at one point but that decision wasn’t up to us.”

Det Con Simon Goodship, from North Herts Local Crime Unit, said: “I am pleased with the outcome of the trial and sentencing as the couple in the post office had been left very shaken after the incident.

“The offences the teenager committed were extremely serious and it is good that this has been reflected in the sentence he has been given.

“I hope that this sends out a strong message to anyone else who may think of considering something like this – that we will not tolerate this in North Herts and will do all we can to find those responsible and hold them to account.”

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