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Three jailed after shopkeeper threatened with firearm and knife

Three armed robbers who threatened a Nottingham shopkeeper with a BB gun and a knife have all been locked up.

Callum Groves, Joshua Woods, and Jack Weston were wearing balaclavas when they charged into a Chilwell convenience store.

They made a beeline for the counter at that point, with one of the intruders wielding a knife and another aiming what looked like a handgun at a staff member.

The shopkeeper – a man in his seventies – suffered minor injuries after being restrained by one of the group, while the others tried to rip out the till.

When their attempts were unsuccessful, the frustrated trio trashed the corner shop in Barn Croft, Clifton, while continuing to wave their weapons in the man’s face.

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Groves, Woods and Weston then raided the cigarette counter before making their way out of the exit and into a waiting car outside.

The robbery took place on 23 September 2023 at 7:40 pm, with the ordeal lasting less than three minutes, before the escape car sped away towards Ingham Road.

An extensive police investigation was launched in the aftermath of the attack that led detectives across the county border and into Leicestershire, where the robbers lived.

Woods was the first of the trio to be tracked down, with police raiding his home and seizing a BB gun that had been sprayed black to look like a real firearm.

Further inquiries then resulted in detectives catching up with Groves and Weston in the weeks that followed, despite neither of them – or Woods – having any previous criminal history.

Groves, Weston, and Woods would all go on to be charged with robbery, having an imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence, and threatening a person with a blade.

Having pleaded guilty to each of the charges, all three appeared at Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on Friday (19 April).

Groves, 25, of Leicestershire, was jailed for four years.

Weston, 23, of Leicester, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison.

Woods, 29, of Leicester, was jailed for four years and three months.

Detective Sergeant Nathan Bingham, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Groves’, Weston’s and Woods’ actions that evening were cowardly and appalling in equal measure.

“Armed with a firearm and a knife, the three of them all charged into this shop at the same time in full knowledge that the lone shopkeeper wouldn’t be able to overpower them.

“They then threatened him multiple times with the weapons, including aiming what to all intents and purposes looked like a real handgun straight at the victim.

“While it was in fact an imitation firearm, the shopkeeper would have had no way of knowing this at the time, so this must have been an incredibly scary experience for him.

“The entire ordeal actually lasted only a couple of minutes, with Groves, Weston and Woods failing with their attempts to steal the till and helping themselves to other stock instead.  

“Robbery, and in particular armed robbery, is a despicable crime that has absolutely no place in our society, so we’re pleased to see each of these men have now been jailed for their actions.”

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