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Plucky Stafford shopkeeper praised for her bravery as teenage would-be robber is sentenced

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: July 18, 2014

  • CCTV footage of the November incident

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A TEENAGE would-be robber who confronted a Stafford shopkeeper and her seven-year-old daughter with a sawn-off shotgun has been spared jail.

Jack Phillips was 17 when he burst into Bassi and Sons in Rickerscote Road, waving a shotgun and threatening Ranvir Bassi and her girl, who were alone in the shop.

But brave Mrs Bassi, 37, refused to be cowed and managed to get Phillips, now 18, out of the shop.

Today at Stafford Crown Court Mrs Bassi’s courage was praised by Recorder Michael Elsom, who awarded her £500.

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“It seems a paltry sum and it seems to me the very least I can order,” he said. “What she did brought about your eventual apprehension.”

Phillips, originally from the Stafford area but now living at Laburnum Road, Middlesborough, admitted at an earlier hearing attempted robbery, possession of a prohibited firearm and possession of a prohibited firearm with intent to commit an aggravating offence.

Today he was given two years’ custody in a young offenders’ institute, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 240 hours’ unpaid work and will be subject to an electronic curfew, between 10pm and 8am each day, for the next four months.

Mr Elsom described the case as “exceptional”

“There must be no doubt in anybody’s mind that what you did on November 4 (2013) was a very dangerous thing indeed,” he said.

“It was a terrifying experience, particularly for the young person. The gun you had in your hand was quite incapable of being fired but (Mrs Bassi) wouldn’t have known that, neither did her daughter.

“What you did on November 4 was done under the direction of others more criminally experienced than yourself. You are a person particularly susceptible to pressure – that provides you with no defence.

“Because of your age I have to have in mind the desire and need to prevent you committing further offences.

“In my judgement, this is a case where I can deal with you and not deprive you of your liberty today. It seems to me much more would be achieved of a positive nature (with a sentence) which allows you to remain in the community where you have made your home, a community where you will be able to keep out of trouble and away from the people who drove you to commit this dreadful offence.” 

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