FIVE men were jailed for a combined total of more than 14 years yesterday after committing crimes against vulnerable Scarborough residents.
Leeds Crown Court heard how Mark Forest, an agoraphobic, was tied up, punched, threatened with a knife and hit with a chair in his recording studio off North Marine Road on March 1 this year.
He was robbed of cash and his attackers then stole his car, which they later set on fire.
An 85-year-old man was also targeted in a night-time burglary as he slept in his South Cliff home in December 2010.
Cross Street residents Simon Cahill, 38, and Jamie Griffiths, 23, along with 18-year-old Dennis Hopson, of North Marine Road, were jailed for the robbery.
Cahill and Griffiths faced an additional aggravated vehicle taking charge.
Hopson also participated in the burglary, along with 22-year-old Daniel Grimes, of New Queen Street, and Michael Jowett-Hall, 42, of North Marine Road.
Recorder Nigel Sangster QC, at Leeds Crown Court, said: “The robbery was a joint enterprise. The victim was a vulnerable man, an easy target.
“The burglary was a serious offence. Fortunately the elderly man did not wake up and find the horror of you in his house but no doubt he has been traumatised.”
Jowett-Hall was also sentenced for committing fraud and theft after he wrote himself a cheque from his ex-partner’s account in February.
In addition, Grimes faced a wounding charge, dating to April this year, after he attacked Thomas Farmer causing injuries including a dislocated shoulder and a chipped neck bone.
All of the offences were initially denied before the defendants changed their pleas.
Cahill was also sentenced for damaging 10 cars on Christmas Day last year. He was found guilty of the charges following a trial.
Describing the robbery, prosecutor Martin Haigh said: “Mr Forest was befriended by a group of males in The Albert pub. He then remembers being in his recording studio with Cahill, Hopson and Griffiths.
“He was trying to teach Cahill to play the keyboard but the mood changed and he was punched in the face.
“Griffiths then hit the victim over the head with a chair. One of the males produced a knife. He was struck a few more times and the knife was pointed at his stomach.
“Cahill then held his arms and he was tied up with wire to a chair. They took money and a mobile phone.
“The chair was kicked over. Cahill said he would kill him if he told anyone as he knew where he lived.”
After freeing himself, Mr Forest ran to a nearby taxi firm office and the police were called.
His Nissan Terrano Was found burned out in Scarborough at 2:43am.
During the burglary of the 85-year-old’s home at The Glade, South Cliff, tobacco, cash and a bank card worth a total of £415 were taken.
Witnesses in the block saw four men running from the scene, although Mr Haigh said the victim was “blissfully unaware” of what had gone on until he was alerted by his neighbours.
Taryn Turner, representing Jowett-Hall, said her client had an addictive personality but was now prepared to face his demons.
“When he’s not in the clink he’s been in drink,” she added.
Simon Haring, representing Grimes, said his client had apologised immediately for the assault and “was not a bad person in terms of being violent.”
Patricia Doherty, representing Hopson, said: “He is vulnerable. It was peer-pressure. he payed a minor role in both matters.”
Richard Canning, representing Cahill, said his client had stopped the knife being used in the robbery.
Dainiel Smith, representing Griffiths, said Griffiths was sorry and believed he deserved what he had coming.
Cahill was jailed for three years and eight months after nine months of a suspended sentence were activated.
Grimes was sentenced to three-and-a-half years custody, Griffiths was jailed for three years and one month, Jowett-Hall was jailed for three years and Hobson received an 18 month sentence due to his age and minor record.