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Pair jailed for eight Preston robberies in Ribbleton and Avenham

Posted on - 3rd March, 2022 - 7:11pm | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, Crime, Fulwood, Lancashire Police, Preston News, Ribbleton
(L-R) Kevin Smith and Leroy Allen

Two men have been jailed for a total of 14 years for their involvement in robberies in Preston. 

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Keith Smith, 35, of no fixed address and Leroy Allen, 35, of Sion Hill, Ribbleton, were jailed at Preston Crown Court on Monday (February 28).

Police launched a major investigation following eight robberies at stores in the city in July and August last year.

Read more: Police appeal after racially aggravated assault at St John’s Shopping Centre

Around 11pm on July 18, police were called to MegaSave on Blackpool Road, Ribbleton, after a report a man had entered the store with a hammer.

Around 10.55pm, a man, later identified as Allen, had entered the store to claim money on a scratch card.

As a staff member opened the till, a second man carrying a hammer entered the store, threatening the worker and demanding cash from the till. The offender, later identified as Smith, ripped the till out, with the pair making off with around £800.

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Allen was later arrested and charged with robbery.

Between July and August police were called to a further seven robbery offences – all involving Smith.

  • On July 22 around 9.30am there was an attempted robbery at the Post Office in Longridge Road, Preston. Smith, carrying a knife, threatened staff and attempted to steal a cash box, before dropping it and making off from the scene.
  • Eight days later, around 6.15am on July 30, two men robbed staff at knifepoint at the One Stop Store in Ribbleton Lane, Preston. Cigarettes, tobacco and money were stolen with a total value of £1,180.
  • Around 6.50pm on July 31, police received a further report of robbery at Tesco Express in Longridge Road. A man had entered the store with scissors, threatening staff and stealing £140.
  • On August 1, Smith entered Spar in Watling Street Road, Preston, carrying a knife. He stole cigarettes, alcohol and money.
  • A day later, on August 2, the Tesco Express in Longridge Road was robbed again by two men at knifepoint. Around 6.45am cigarettes and money was stolen valuing £450.
  • The same day, around 10.15pm, a newsagent in Meadow Lane was robbed. Smith, carrying a hammer, threatened staff stealing cash from the till.
  • The final offence was on August 3, with Smith attempting a robbery at the Quick Shop in Ribbleton Avenue. Smith was forced out of the store by staff, with officers attending the scene. Following a short pursuit he was arrested on Blackpool Road. He was charged with robbery offences.

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Both men appeared at court and pleaded guilty.

Smith was jailed for 10 years and six months, with Allen given a three year and six month sentence.

Det Con Steve Rotherham, of Preston CID, said: “Smith’s offending was violent and prolific. He went on a robbery spree, targeting shops across Preston. His offending left victims terrified and fearing who would be next.

“He used weapons including scissors, a hammer and knives, as well as targeting one shop twice in three days.

“Smith is clearly a dangerous offender and his sentence reflects the gravity of his actions.

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“Allen, while limited to the one robbery, was heavily involved and I have no doubt he could have committed further offences given the opportunity.

“Furthermore, I want to thank the teams who have worked across this investigation, including response policing, detectives and crime scene investigators. This team effort supported the prosecution and have taken two dangerous offenders off the streets for some time.”

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