Raid on garage: teenagers locked up

Matthew Gee, and below, West End petrol station in Seamer Road.
Matthew Gee, and below, West End petrol station in Seamer Road.

TWO drug-fuelled teenagers – one of them brandishing a First World War Luger pistol and wearing a gas mask – have been locked up for a total of six years after admitting holding-up a Scarborough petrol station.

Matthew Gee, 18, and Eddie Johnson, 16, both of The Poplars, Falsgrave Road, appeared at York Crown Court for sentencing yesterday.

Gee was sentenced to four years in a young offenders’ institute, and Johnson to a two-year detention and training order.

Johnson is now able to be identified despite being under the age of 18 after the judge lifted an order protecting his anonymity due to the severity of his crime.

The court heard a female cashier was working alone in the West End petrol station in Seamer Road at around 3.20am on Sunday October 16 last year when the gun was pointed straight at her through the cash payment window.

Gee, who was not disguised and was recognised by her, then said: “This is a stick up, give me your money.”

The frightened cashier had no time to do anything before the duo fled from the scene, but she was left shaking, and has since lost confidence dealing with the public and going out alone.

She is also receiving counselling and taking medication, including sleeping tablets.

The court was told that following the events, Gee and Johnson were arrested by armed police from their rooms in a supportive housing complex in Falsgrave Road.

Gee had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to attempted robbery and possessing an imitation firearm while committing a serious offence.

Johnson had admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Howard Shaw, prosecuting, said the worker initially thought the two teenagers were a “pair of idiots”, but things changed after the decommissioned pistol was pointed at her.

The court heard that the pair, although both originally from Scotland, were unknown to each other before meeting at the housing complex.

Gee had found the gun and mask a few days before the incident, telling police that he and Johnson had planned to hold up the cashier for money and cigarettes.

However, Johnson, who wore the gas mask and carried the gun, told police he thought they were just going to “scare” someone.

Taryn Turner, for Gee, said her client had had an adolescence marred by unhappiness because of a dysfunctional family and the death of his mother, aged just 44, three years ago.

Adding that Gee’s father served away from home in the Royal Navy for lengthy periods, Mrs Turner said her client had moved from Glasgow to Scarborough in an attempt to escape a life of crime into which he thought he was being dragged.

Mrs Turner said that Gee also suffered with problems of dyslexia and dyspraxia and had become involved with drugs and with drinking to excess.

For Johnson, Ian Brook told the court that the offence had been committed as a “prank” as a result of his client being “bored and not thinking straight” because of the drugs he had taken.

He said: “He just wanted to give somebody a fright in order to get a buzz.”

Adding that Johnson also had problems with his health, including autistic spectrum disorder and attention deficit disorder, Mr Brook said this led to his client being easily led.

He said Johnson was “bitterly remorseful” and “embarrassed” and that the offence had been a “wake-up call” for him.

Passing sentence, Judge Guy Kearl QC said the cashier would not have known whether the weapon was deactivated or not and the offence was in the early hours on a vulnerable lone female with a disguise being used.