Three thirsty Coventry robbers and their getaway driver have been jailed for raiding a Bargain Booze store after they were caught toasting their proceeds at a local pub.
Daniel Aspinall, Shane McPherson, Kai Flynn and driver Sarah Claridge were arrested as they left the Peeping Tom pub in Tile Hill – less than two hours after they robbed Bargain Booze on Station Avenue on 15 August 2014.
West Midlands Police were alerted to their whereabouts after the conspicuous mint green Vauxhall Corsa spotted by witnesses leaving the scene of the crime was clocked by officers in the pub's car park as they searched the area for the vehicle.
Around an hour and a half earlier, McPherson, 27, and Flynn, 29, had entered the off-licence armed with a knife and a dumbbell bar and demanded staff open the till. Aspinall, 23, acted as lookout while cash was stolen from the till, and cigarettes and bottles of spirits were taken from behind the counter.
The three men fled the shop and got into the waiting Corsa, whose driver matched the description of Claridge, aged 42.
The group then went to the pub and began counting the pound coins stolen in the raid on the counter, telling bar staff they had won the money in another pub's gambling machine.
Meanwhile, officers on the hunt for the getaway car had come across it in the car park and following inquiries, Aspinall, McPherson, Flynn and Claridge were identified as having arrived in it.
The group were just leaving the pub when officers went to arrest them. McPherson threw his drink over one of the officers before trying to flee. He was found a short time later hiding in a nearby bush.
All four were subsequently charged with one count of robbery each, with Flynn, of Jardine Crescent, Tile Hill, and McPherson, of no fixed address, admitting their guilt.
Aspinall, of Mauren Close, Tile Hill, and Claridge, of George Hodkinson Close, Tile Hill, denied any involvement but were found guilty following a week-long trial at Warwick Crown Court.
On 28 July, Flynn and McPherson were each sentenced to three years and four months behind bars while Aspinall and Claridge were sentenced to four years and three months.