Sunderland man jailed for 11 years over robberies, black mail and false imprisonment

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A MAN has been sentenced to 11-and-a-half years behind bars following a series of offences across Northumbria.

Andrew Ross, 31, of Aydon House, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to two robberies, blackmail, false imprisonment and affray relating to three separate incidents between 2012 and January this year.

The first robbery happened in the early hours of Tuesday, October 12, 2012, at the Village Hotel, on Cobalt Business Park in North Tyneside, when a reception staff member was threatened with a knife and forced to empty his pockets.

A mobile phone, car keys and the car were stolen in the incident.

Carl Riley, 24, of Beaumont Street, Sunderland, also pleaded guilty to robbery in relation to this incident and received three-years and nine months.

Mark Wright, 23, of Stafford Grove, Sunderland and Daniel Walton, 23, of Milton Street, South Shields, both pleaded guilty to theft from the person relating to the same incident.

They both received an 18-month sentence suspended for two years.

The second robbery happened at Whitburn Post Office, on North Guards, Whitburn, South Tyneside, on Friday, May 24, 2013.

A staff member was threatened with a gun to hand over the takings, when this failed a customer was forced to hand over his mobile phone which he did.

David Roberts, 21, of Raby Street, Sunderland, admitted handling stolen goods in relation to this incident. He received a 12-month community order.

In a third incident, between January 9 and 31 this year, a number of telephone calls were made to the proprietors of Harbour View Motors in Sunderland making demands for money for the protection of property at the premises.

This followed on from a series of incidents where cars had been damaged at the garage.

During Ross’ arrest for this incident he detained and threatened an officer with a knife within a communal area of a block of flats.

Ross pleaded guilty to the offences of blackmail, false imprisonment and affray.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Mark Ord, from Northumbria Police, said: “These were violent offences involving a number of victims and committed across the Northumbria area.

It’s only right that Ross received a custodial sentence for his crimes and that he’s taken off the streets and that those who assisted him were dealt with through the court process.

“I hope these sentences serve as a warning to those who may be thinking of committing similar offences.”