Armed robbers jailed after terrifying raid on Peterborough shop

Two armed robbers who held up a Peterborough shop, running off with hundreds of pounds worth of cigarettes and alcohol have been jailed.

Joanne Hollis and Iitaf Hussain armed themselves with a bat and a knife before carrying out the raid on the One Stop Shop in Parnwell on December 9,

Iltaf Hussain (l) and Joanna Hollis (r)

Iltaf Hussain (l) and Joanna Hollis (r)

Hussain - who hid his face and carried the baton as he burst into the shop - jumped over the counter of the store, filling bags with goods, while Hollis carried the knife.

They both fled from the scene, but were arrested a short distance from the shop, still carrying their loot.

While Hussain initially claimed he had just found the bags of stash near-by, he later changed his plea to guilty.

Today he was jailed for 40 months for the robbery, and a further 18 weeks for shoplifting - from the same store just a day before.
Hollis was jailed for 40 months for robbery, and a further 12 weeks after admitting breaching a suspended sentence.

Lee Sergent, prosecuting, told Peterborough Crown Court the pair had long criminal records after battling drug addictions for many years.

He said: “The shoplifting happened on December 8 at about 3pm, when Hussain entered the shop. He had previously been convicted of shoplifting from the shop - and he started putting washing tablets in a bag.

“He was confronted by a member of staff, and Hussain said ‘call the police’ and continued to put tablets in the bag, before leaving the store.”

The robbery happened about 3pm the following day. After Hussain jumped over the counter, he told staff not to move, and when they retreated, Hollis took the knife out of her handbag.

Along with two members of staff, there were a number of customers in the shop, including a man pushing a pram with a young child in it.

In total, they took goods worth more than £610 in their raid, with Hollis dumping the knife in bushes near-by.

A statement from the manager of the store was read to the court, and he said staff no longer enjoyed coming to work as a result of the frightening experience.

The baton was never recovered,

The court was told Hussain had recently been given a 20 week jail term for shoplifting from the same Parnwell store.

Hollis was in breach of a suspended sentence imposed on December 5 for battery and using threatening or abusive words or behaviour. She had been given 12 weeks, suspended for 18 months at the last hearing.

Timothy Kiely, defending Hussain, said: “He accepts his wrong doing, and accepts he should be punished.

“This appears to be his first offence of violence, and his first involving weapons.

“He had been dealing with a heroin habit for many years. He thought this would end in 2012, when he moved to Durham with his wife and child.

“He remained clean from drugs for a time - but his wife died as a result of a car accident, and it sent him into a downward spiral.

“He ended up homeless, and would steal to fund his addiction, and to survive.

“He is in a cycle where he gets released from prison, ends up homeless, and starts stealing.

“This cycle needs to be broken.”

Lindsay Cox, defending Hollis, said: “Since she was a teenager she has had a drug problem.

“The drug dependency level has caused significant issues - she is the mother of children who have been taken away from her.

“She was released from prison on November 23, and was told she was not eligible for benefits until the beginning of January.”

Judge Sean Enright gave the pair credit for early guilty pleas.

Hussain (34) of no fixed abode was given an 18 week sentence for shoplifting, and 40 months for robbery, to be served consecutively. He was also given a 12 month sentence for possession of an offensive weapon, to be served concurrently.

Hollis (39) of Somerby Garth, Peterborough, was given a 40 month sentence for robbery, 12 weeks for breach of a suspended sentence, to be served consecutively, and 12 months for possession of a knife, to be served concurrently.

Both were also banned from going to the shop.

The knife was ordered to be destroyed.