Three men have been jailed for a combined total of 14 years after they sprayed customers and staff at a Northampton pub with CS gas during a terrifying robbery.
Steven Ennever, aged 42, Carl Burrell, aged 44, and Samuel Bowditch, aged 25, targeted The Billing Mill pub and restaurant shortly before closing time on February 23 this year.
Northampton Crown Court heard the three men targeted the pub where Ennever had worked from November 2011 to April 2012.
Gary Short, prosecuting, said the deputy manager of the pub was preparing to close up when the three men burst into the bar wearing balaclavas and pushed him into the toilets.
Mr Short said the trio tied the deputy manager’s hands behind his back with cable and told him not to move. The gang also stole his wallet and mobile phone.
The court heard the three men then went through to the bar area where there were two members of staff and two customers.
Mr Short said the barman and two customers were sprayed in the face with CS gas and a team leader was marched upstairs and forced to open a safe containing almost £5,000.
Mr Short said: “The use of violence was completely unnecessary as the staff and customers at no point offered any retaliation.”
The court heard the three men took the CCTV unit from the office and stole a further £200 from a cash machine in the pub.
Mr Short said the deputy manager’s partner, who came downstairs from the living quarters above the pub after hearing a lot of noise, was also sprayed with CS gas.
The three men were arrested by police outside an address in Daventry after they tracked them via the mobile phone stolen from the deputy manager.
Sam Mains, defending Ennever, said his client had committed the offence after he had failed to receive his benefits for a long period of time
Mr Mains said Ennever, a father of seven children, expressed genuine remorse and said it was the “dumbest thing he had ever done in his life.”
Claire Howell, defending Bowditch, said he was a talented stonemason who had decided to take part in the robbery after he lost his business and his partner found herself in rent arrears.
She said: “This was an opportunity he took up for all the wrong reasons and he is ashamed about what he has done.”