A burglar has raided a home in Peterlee after threatening to burn down a petrol station in a robbery attempt.
Jacob Grant Chambers had been taking “pills and cocaine” on February 20 when he decided to try and rob a nearby gas station. The 22-year-old told the lone employee he set the station on fire and ‘poured cash’ into the pay window tray, leaving her terrified.
Chambers left empty-handed, but then robbed a nearby house as a woman and young child slept inside the property. On Monday, he appeared at Durham Crown Court via a link from HMP Durham to be convicted of attempted robbery and burglary.
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Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said the offenses were committed ‘within a short time’ of each other and said he showed up at a petrol station around 6.20am where a woman staff member was working alone. “He demanded money immediately and said he would set the place on fire,” he said.
“He poured liquid into the night hatch, leaving the member of staff in distress as she pressed the emergency alarm. The accused then walked away as the burglary took place approximately an hour later. late.”
Mr Sabiston said a man left his home in Duddon Close – leaving his partner and child sleeping – to go to the same petrol station that Chambers had recently tried to rob. Chambers was seen nearby with his hood and face covered.
But when the man returned home, he found that his partner’s handbag had been stolen. The court was told Chambers was also upstairs in the house and in the baby’s room, with a “toy out of place and a door ajar”.
The man left his home and saw Chambers – whom he knew as ‘Chimp’ – before chasing after him. Mr Sabiston said Chambers then threatened to throw two gas canisters at the man. Chambers was later found hiding in a garden shed.
Ian West, defending, said: “The background was that the defendant was taking pills and cocaine with a number of other people and they needed more money for more drugs. He was convinced to go to the garage.
“The liquid he poured into the tray was actually water. It was the best thing he could think of – it was a pretty pathetic attempted robbery and he was easily deterred when she closed. the door and that he fled.” Mr West added that the burglary was ‘opportunistic’ and that Chambers fled when challenged.
Judge James Adkin, the Durham Recorder, jailed Chambers, of Moutter Close, Horden for four years.