Jail for trio who robbed delivery driver of £12,000-worth of cigarettes

Jailed: John Reilly

Jailed: John Reilly

First published in News
Last updated
Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

Three robbers have been jailed for a total of eight years for an "unpleasant and terrifying" heist in Chessington.

The men robbed a cigarette delivery driver behind North Parade in May, making off with up to £12,000 worth of cargo.

Surrey Comet:

William Stokes

William Stokes, 27, of Elmcroft Close, Feltham, his cousin John Stokes, also 27, of Clifford Road, Hounslow, and John Reilly, 23, of Birchway House, Hayes, were imprisoned at Kingston Crown Court this afternoon.

Recorder Michael Holland QC called the robbery "opportunistic" and "unpleasant and terrifying".

He added: "The attack was timed so that the approach took place after the delivery lorry had had its alarm disabled.

"The attack was quick and each defendant played his role without any need for direction."

The heist took place on Friday, May 23, after the trio spotted the lorry being unloaded behind Martin's newsagent shortly before midday.

They screeched to a halt in their blue Peugeot, and John Stokes jumped out. The court heard he told the delivery driver: "Keep back or I will kill you."

Surrey Comet:

John Stokes

John Reilly began loading the seven boxes of cigarettes, but the driver raised the alarm.

The three fled in the Peugeot with William Stokes at the wheel.

But unknown to them, they had loaded a box containing a tracking device, which led police to them after a short chase through Epsom and Leatherhead.

Each had admitted guilt in an earlier Kingston Crown Court hearing.

Defending father-of-three William Stokes, Simon Collingham said: "It is him who has put himself in this position and no one else. There is clear evidence of remorse by him."

Flora Page, defending John Stokes, also a father of three, who she said "can hardly read and write", told the court: "If he could have that short period of time back again, he wishes above all else he could.

"This is a young man who has never been in trouble."

Neil Sandys, defending John Reilly, who got married only eight months ago, said: "First and foremost Mr Reilly wants to say sorry. He is thoroughly ashamed of what he has done."

Reilly was sentenced to three years and four months behind bars. John and William Stokes will each serve two and a half years.

Gasps were heard from family members in the public gallery who had travelled to support the trio.

Det Con Clayton Woracker, of Kingston police, said: "These men were caught as a result of some excellent collaborative police work between Kingston and Surrey officers, through the courage of the victim in raising the alarm and a quick thinking witness who managed to take photos.

"This was a frightening experience for a man going about his daily business and hopefully this conviction will serve as a deterrent to these men and others in the future."

Det Chief Insp Claire Moxon, said: "This was an extremely frightening experience for the victim and witnesses in this case. Serious crime like this will not be tolerated. The sentencing today reinforces this message."

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