Drug-crazed Scarborough robber jailed after threatening shops workers at knifepoint

A drug-crazed knifepoint robber who terrorised two shop workers in Scarborough has been jailed for three years.

By Court Reporter
Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 12:59 pm

Alex Gaddass, 27, pointed a knife at the shop assistants and threatened to “cut” them as he demanded they open the till.

Gaddass, wearing a mask, shades and black gloves, told one of the victims that if he tried to press the panic button he would stab him in the neck, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Andrew Finlay said that Gaddass, who was on drink and drugs at the time, had gone behind the counter after walking into the Premier shop on North Marine Road heavily disguised.

Alex Gaddass

“He was masked and wearing sunglasses (and) produced a black-handled knife,” said Mr Finlay.

“He held it towards the (named male) shop assistant and said, ‘Open the till right now and don’t press the (panic) button or I will cut you.’”

The shop assistant told Gaddass where the key to the till was, whereupon the robber told him: “Don’t go near the button or I’ll stab you.”

Gaddass drew the knife back and then pointed it forwards again, towards the terrified shop worker who said he would get the key for him.

Gaddass pointed the knife at him again, shouting: “You press the button and I’m going to stab you in the neck.”

As the victim opened the till, Gaddass told him: “Get all the money out for me.”

At that point, a female shop worker came into the counter area and tried to intervene after seeing her colleague “looking really scared” and backed into a corner.

Gaddass walked towards her and told her to “go away now”, and that if she didn’t, she would “get hurt”.

He pointed the knife at her as he did so.

The male shop assistant handed Gaddass just over £391 from the till and the robber scarpered.

CCTV showed Gaddass and a second man running down North Marine Road and onto Queen Street, where Gaddass had dumped the knife in a garden.

The blade was later found by police after they identified Gaddass on the shop’s CCTV.

They found his sunglasses at a separate address.

Gaddass, of Westborough, was arrested and charged with robbery and carrying a knife.

He admitted the offences and appeared for sentence via video link on Wednesday January 12 after being remanded in custody.

Mr Finlay said that in the minutes leading up to the robbery on April 25 last year, Gaddass and the unnamed second man were captured on CCTV outside Pizza 2 Go on North Marine Road.

Gaddass was seen putting on a pair of shades, going into another property on North Marine Road, then re-emerging several minutes later and walking towards the shop at about 6.15pm.

Mr Finlay said the unnamed second man had gone to the shop with Gaddass but turned around at the entrance and did not go inside.

The named female shop worker said she was “really shaken up” by the incident, to the extent that she had considered quitting her job.

Her male colleague said he was “scared and nervous” and that “all he was thinking about was his daughter” as Gaddass drew the knife and pointed it at him.

He said he had told Gaddass he had a daughter as he threatened him with the knife.

He “felt ill” following the incident.

The robbery put Gaddass in breach of a conditional discharge, imposed in January last year for possessing crack cocaine.

Graham Parkin, mitigating, said Gaddass was now horrified at his own behaviour, the root cause of which was drink and drugs.

He said that after a traumatic childhood, Gaddass had turned his life around after landing a good job, getting married and moving to Preston to get away from “previous associates” in Scarborough.

He said Gaddass and his then partner were “doing well, both in work, both earning reasonably good money”.

Gaddass’s partner became pregnant just as the pandemic hit and the lockdown resulted in him losing his self-employed job.

They were left with no money, which caused problems in the marriage, and they separated.

After losing his work and his home, Gaddass returned to Scarborough where he turned to drink and drugs again and started reoffending.

Judge Sean Morris, the Recorder of York, told Gaddass: “You terrorised two people, threatening to stab them, to cut them, and it must have been a thoroughly frightening experience.”

He said it was clear that Gaddass had “hit the bottle” and started using drugs again after returning to Scarborough, which ultimately led to the “most frightening” of robberies which Gaddass committed while “drunk and drugged”.

Gaddass will serve half of the three-year jail sentence behind bars before being released on prison licence.