Pair jailed for attack on Scarborough taxi office

Barry Jephson
Barry Jephson

Two notorious Scarborough men have been jailed yet again after one of them laid siege to a taxi office with a hammer and the other was seen carrying a machete following the racially-aggravated incident.

Dennis Reynolds, 37, was caught on CCTV taking a steel claw hammer out of his pocket and smashing it into the front window at Boro Cars on the corner of Victoria Street and Roscoe Street, causing £650 of damage.

Dennis Reynolds

Dennis Reynolds

Prosecutor Matthew Collins said Reynolds was walking back and forth up to the window, repeatedly crashing the hammer into the glass and threatening people inside the taxi office with the weapon, said prosecutor Michael Collins.

“The window did not smash completely (because) it was shatter-proof glass, but there was a circular hole left in the glass,” added Mr Collins.

Reynolds hurled racial insults at the two victims - a man and a woman with whom he had a beef following a previous “disturbance” - as staff tried to prevent him getting into the office.

Reynolds’s mate Barry Jephson, 39, was stood watching the mayhem unfold in the street.

The two men then disappeared around the corner where a passer-by saw “a machete being handed from one defendant to the other and then placed under a car”, said Mr Collins.

“It was lying in the road,” added the barrister. “It was picked up (by a member of the public) to protect children in the area.”

Police arrived on the scene and the two men were arrested. Reynolds ultimately admitted criminal damage, possessing an offensive weapon and two counts of racially-aggravated disorder with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Jephson admitted affray, damaging property, possessing a knife and obstructing a police officer. The two men appeared for sentence on Monday via video link.

The court heard that Reynolds, of Cromwell Terrace, Scarborough, and Jephson, of Norwood Street, had 125 previous convictions between them for 274 offences, split pretty much evenly and “covering a wide variety of matters including theft and violence”. Both men had previous convictions for carrying offensive weapons.

In April last year, Jephson threatened a man on Castle Road while brandishing a broken beer bottle “with a jagged edge”.

He was currently serving a 24-week prison sentence for a public-order offence and breaching a court order in August last year.

Reynolds had been remanded in custody after being recalled to prison in November last year. He had previous convictions for going equipped to steal and possessing cannabis

Defence barrister Alex Menary said that prior to the incident at the taxi office, on October 9 last year, there had been a “disturbance” involving Reynolds, who came back to the scene 10 minute later, armed with the claw hammer and shouting racial insults at the victims.

He said that Reynolds, a former scaffolder, had a long-standing drink-and-drug problem and was intoxicated at the time of the incident. He had been released from his last prison sentence in June last year when he fell back into heroin-and-crack-cocaine addiction.

Andrew Semple, for Jephson, said his client had been in and out of prison for years. He had “manifold, chronic problems” including long-standing mental-health issues and alcoholism.

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC slammed Reynolds for “berating” people in the taxi office but reserved his deepest concern for the presence of the machete, adding: “Anybody armed with that weapon, in that mood, with people passing up and down the street… (deserves to go to prison).”

Jephson was jailed for 10 months, which will run consecutively to the sentence he is currently serving. Reynolds was jailed for nine months.