Sunderland shop thieves who threatened staff with screwdrivers and terrified customers with children are caged

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Sean Humphrey, 30, and Phillip Padgett, 28, wore hoodies and face masks as they rushed into the Sunderland store asking for cash at the till.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the men fled with bottles of alcohol after staff were forced into hiding in a room.

Prosecutor Phillip Morley said: “On March 24 of this year, the victim in this case worked at the J&H convenience store.

Phillip Padgett and Sean Humphrey.

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“She is the store supervisor and was working with five other staff when at around 5 p.m. she was at the front door of the checkout.

“She became aware that the two defendants were entering the store. They went through the unlocked front door.

“The man outside the door shouted ‘open the crate *******’ and that man was the defendant Humphrey.

“When he approached, she saw in his hand what she thought at the time was a knife. It was actually a red-handled screwdriver.

“CCTV captures all of this and shows the second man, who is Phillip Padgett, standing behind Humphrey and he is holding a blue screwdriver.

“While staff were in the back room, the defendants took a number of bottles of liquor from the store. These bottles were valued at £153.83.”

The court heard the store lost around £2,000 as it had to close for four days after the incident.

Mr Morley added that when police located the defendants they saw a picture of the bottles on a phone advertised to potential buyers.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said: “This incident was terrifying and I was scared and scared.

“I’m normally happy and excited to come to work, but it left me worried about coming to work in the future.”

Humphrey, of Blind Lane in Sunderland, and Padgett, of Tatham Street, also Sunderland, both admitted the robbery.

Glenn Gatland, mitigating Humphrey who has seven convictions on his record, said: “He is remorseful. He accepts full responsibility.

“Mr Humphrey had a very well paid job as a sheet metal worker but of course Covid hit on March 16, 2020 and what happened next he lost that job.

“He had difficulty paying his obligations because he was used to this high-paying job.

“He had problems with relationships because he was out of work and had no money.”

Tony Cornberg, for Padgett, who has six previous convictions, said: “It was a plan concocted no more than five minutes before he was executed.

“He turned ten without any problems and since 2012 he had been working.

“He recognizes the need to stay in control and stay on the straight and narrow.

“The hope is that he can get back to it and stay offense free as soon as possible.”

Recorder Mark Giuliani sentenced Humphrey to three years behind bars and Padgett to two years and eight months.

The judge said: “Inside this store were staff and customers, including two young children.

“Clearly the customers were scared off by your actions, including the children who quickly ran away.

“It’s so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence will do.”

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