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Norwich robber jailed for two and half years

PUBLISHED: 12:39 24 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:39 24 February 2014

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A man who threatened staff at a Norwich convenience store with a broken bottle has been jailed for two and half years.

A robber, whose life spiralled out of control when he turned to drink, held up a convenience store on Drayton Road, in Norwich, and threatened staff with a broken bottle before walking out with two bottles of wine, a court heard.

Gregg Rowe, 36, a former assistant manager of a builder’s merchant, walked into the Premier Express store near closing time, and when he approached the till, instead of paying for items, he pulled out a broken bottle which he thrust towards a female member of staff, Norwich Crown Court was told.

Richard Paterson, prosecuting, said that the victim was so startled she immediately left the shop area. He said despite Rowe demanding staff to hand over the keys to the shop, he suddenly left the store stealing two bottles of wine.

Staff noted which direction he left and quickly raised the alarm.

He was arrested shortly afterwards and made no comment in his interview.

Mr Paterson said that in an impact statement, the victim said the robbery took place so quickly she did not have time to react but afterwards she has been left thinking what might have happened,

Rowe of no fixed address, admitted robbery on January 12 this year and also the burglary of his former partner’s home in Diss, on January 8 this year. He also admitted fraud when he tried to sell items, taken in the burglary and was jailed for two and half years.

The court heard that Rowe had been working as an assistant manager at a builder’s merchant but started drinking heavily because of stress at work and his life then spiralled out of control.

Jailing him Judge Anthony Bate said the robbery must have been a frightening experience for the staff.

He said: ”They had the presence of mind to observe where you went when you left the store and told police.”

He said until November, last year, Rowe had been in full time employment as an assistant manager, but then had started drinking.

“Your chronic alcoholism has led to your appearance at Norwich Crown Court.”

He said that Rowe would be able to get help while in prison and said: “I hope after your release that support will continue.”

John Morgans, for Rowe, said: “He has been working all his adult life, It was drink which has been his real significant problem.”

“At work he had been promoted. It simply got beyond him and with the stress at work he could not cope.”

He said Rowe started to drink and then this spiralled into alcoholism.

“In that disturbed mental state he goes on to commit these offences. He is a man, broken by what he has done. He wants to apologise for what he has done.”

He said Rowe had the support of his family.

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