Chesterton addict Kevin Palin robbed OAP to pay off debts
ROBBER Kevin Palin is today starting a 12-year jail sentence after he targeted and assaulted a frail and elderly shopkeeper.
The 31-year-old also tried to rob a post office when in possession of an imitation firearm, just two days after he was caught in possession of a small handgun.
And the heroin addict asked for four burglaries of caravans and four other matters to be taken into consideration.
Prosecutor David Bennett yesterday told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court that Palin entered The Model Shop, in George Street, Newcastle, at about 3pm on July 12.
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The owner, Dennis Scholes, aged 80, lent Palin his phone after the pair had been negotiating a price for a model aircraft.
But Palin walked round the counter and tried to grab £250 cash from the pensioner's shirt pocket.
"Mr Scholes resisted," said Mr Bennett. "The defendant pushed him to the ground, causing him to hit his head on the floor.
"The defendant bent down. He put his nails in Mr Scholes's hand in an attempt to get the money."
The court heard the alarm was activated and the defendant fled. A model aeroplane engine and battery worth £85 were stolen.
Palin's fingerprints were recovered from a model aeroplane box he handled in the shop.
Mr Scholes was left with cuts and scratches to the back of his hands and a sore head.
After the incident he said he did not want to work at the shop again.
Palin was arrested on July 18. He was in possession of a small handgun which he claimed was a toy gun.
Two days later, while on bail, Palin tried to commit a robbery at Chesterton post office.
The court heard Michael Farr was taking bags out of the secure area into the shop ready for collection.
"The defendant approached very quickly and Mr Farr shut himself in the secure counter area," said Mr Bennett.
"The defendant said, 'Give me the money'.
"Mr Farr noticed he was holding what looked like a gun barrel.
"He threw himself on the floor and activated the alarm. The defendant left."
Palin was arrested later that day. He said he acted on impulse. He denied having a gun and said and he was in possession of a black metal pipe which looked offensive. He said he was a heroin addict and if he did not pay his debts his legs would be broken.
Palin, of Church Street, Chesterton, pleaded guilty to robbery, attempted robbery, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of an imitation firearm when committing an attempted robbery. And he asked for eight offences, including one of entering the Model Shop, in George Street, with intent to steal, to be taken into consideration.
Peter McCartney, mitigating, said drugs have been a blight on Palin's life. He added that Palin did not know the handgun fired real pellets.
Judge Paul Glenn said the robbery was pre-planned and involved targeting a vulnerable victim.
"Dennis Scholes is 80," said Judge Glenn. "You grabbed him and tried to reach in his jacket. You knelt on him and continued to try to rob him.
"On bail you tried to commit a robbery at a post office. You demanded money and produced what Mr Farr believed was a gun.
"You had been arrested on July 18 and found in possession of a revolver pistol in working order, a prohibited weapon.
"These offences represent a worrying escalation in the seriousness of your offending."