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Man jailed for six years after he robbed a shop wearing a gas mask

News   •   Dec 13, 2018 13:03 GMT

William John Campbell, aged 32, of Kerry Close, Chandler’s Ford has been jailed for six years after he pleaded guilty to robbing the Co-op store on Passfield Avenue in Eastleigh in September 2018.

Campbell tried to disguise himself with a fake gas mask when he entered the store just after midnight on 20 September.

Brandishing a knife, he chased two staff members into the back office where he held them, forbidding them from using a phone to call for help, whilst waving his knife around and demanding money from the safe.

During the ordeal, one of the staff member’s friends turned up to give them a lift, not knowing what was going on. She also ended up being held hostage in the office for over 10 minutes, while Campbell stuffed a bag with the contents of the safe - some £5,000.

Campbell then left, but not before trying to destroy the CCTV system and locking the three people in the office.

However, the staff members called the police immediately after Campbell left and officers deployed to the area and carried out a thorough search.

At 12.26am, officers had Campbell in cuffs and had recovered the bag full of money.

Detectives charged Campbell with two counts of robbery and possession of a bladed article in a public place that very same evening and he was remanded in custody.

He pleaded guilty on19 October. On Wednesday 12 December at Southampton Crown Court, Campbell was handed the following concurrent sentences:

  • Six years with a five-year extended licence - robbery (count one)
  • Four years - robbery (count two)
  • 16 months - possession of a bladed article in a public place

DC Dan Rainscourt from the Western Investigation Team said: “This must have been terrifying for the staff members working that night. To be chased by a man wearing a gas mask waving a knife around is truly horrifying.

“Campbell was after just one thing though, he wanted money, and he was going to do anything to get it. However, he only had hold of that wealth for a matter of minutes before the officers on the scene found him.

“I’d like to thank those officers for making such a quick arrest and the staff members for supporting the investigation.

“We care about businesses in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and we are dedicated to getting justice for victims and protecting our communities.”