YOUTH IS ACCUSED OVER ROBBERY BID
09:30 - 13 May 2003
A Teenager accused of trying to hold up a Derby post office was arrested minutes after the raid with a balaclava and a ball-bearing gun on him, a jury heard. The breathless 14-year-old was discovered on a bridge running over the River Derwent from City Road to North Parade at 2pm on January 21.
The youth then told the police a lad had ran past him and offered him the BB gun before he found the balaclava about six feet away and tried it on to see if it fitted, Derby Crown Court heard yesterday.
He denied an attempted armed robbery at the nearby Mansfield Road Post Office in Chester Green, which took place about nine minutes earlier, and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to commit a robbery.
Andrew Peet, prosecuting, told the jury that the evidence against the youth was overwhelming, saying: "If it were not so serious, you might think it comical."
He later told them: "This is an open and shut case.
"I have never, ever, used those words in opening a case to a jury - I shall never do it again, I would have thought.
"He wasn't caught red-handed - he was caught gun-handed."
The Normanton teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is alleged to have burst into the post office with another youth as the owners, Jaysukh Thaker and his wife, Rekha, stood behind the counter.
Mrs Thaker said in a statement read to the court that a youth with a balaclava on pushed a black and white Adidas plastic bag under the post office's counter window, pointed a gun at her and demanded cash.
She told the police: "Because of the balaclava, I became afraid.
"He said 'fill the bag or else' or words to that effect. It was not in a very demanding voice. I think he seemed scared.
"As soon as he said this, I knew what was happening. In his right hand he was holding what appeared to be a small handgun."
Mrs Thaker immediately hit a panic alarm and the two youths, who were both wearing jacket hoods over their heads, ran out of the shop towards Alfreton Road, the court heard.
She then called the police who were on the scene four minutes later.
PC Scott Jeffreys, of St Mary's Wharf police station, told the jury he came across the defendant, who was wearing a blue-hooded jacket, like the description he was given, on the bridge.
He described how he searched him and found a black balaclava stuffed down the front of his tracksuit bottoms.
On the way to the police station, PC Jeffreys then found a black BB gun hidden in his right trouser leg, the jury heard.
The trial continues.