Duo accused of two week crimewave

A frightened shop assistant was threatened and forced to hold open a bag for robbers to dump £1,700 of cigarettes into, Nottingham Crown Court was told this week.

Lee Watson and Dominic Wright are alleged to have carried out a series of raids over a two-week period last summer.

A jury has heard how the petrol station kiosk at Morrisons in Eastwood was robbed along with the Co-op in Langley Mill and stores in Broxtowe, Loscoe and Hucknall, in June and July last year.

The pair deny all charges.

The jury was told while there was no doubt the raids took place, they have been asked by the defence team to consider whether Watson and Wright were the ones responsible.

Prosecutor Jeremy Janes read out a witness statement from a shop assistant at the petrol station in Loscoe, which was raided on July 9, 2012.

It is alleged Wright and Watson enlisted the help of two other men to carry out the robbery.

The worker said in her statement: “Four men came through the entrance into the shop.

“The first man shouted something, I can’t remember what.

“I saw all four men all dressed in dark clothes and all were wearing black balaclavas.”

The shop assistant then described how one man, alleged to be Wright, stood by the door to keep watch, holding a ‘sharp object’, while the other three jumped over the counter, attempted to unload the tills and began filling a large white sack with tobacco products. Watson is alleged to have tried to wrench a till open.

“One of them started to panic,” the woman continued. “He was shouting, ‘she’s pressed the panic button, she’s pressed the button’.

“A man behind the counter shoved the bag in my hand and said get a hold of it. One of the other men behind the counter, trying to get into the till, asked me to open the safe but I told them I couldn’t.

“It felt like they were in the shop ages.”

In total £325 was taken, along with £1,749 worth of tobacco products and a £25 bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey.

The gang are then said to have sped off in a silver Citroen Xsara which was later recovered by police close to Nottingham Road in Eastwood, after it was reported as being parked blocking the road later that evening.

Forensics officers lifted fingerprints from the vehicle belonging to Wright and Watson, the prosecution says.

Watson, 26, of no fixed address, and Wright, 23, of Vale Crescent South, Aspley, were arrested on July 12, but deny all five allegations of robbery, but they do admit stealing a car from a driveway.

Simon Eckersley, for Wright, said: “Just because Dominic Wright has been accused, he doesn’t have to disprove his guilt. The prosecution have to prove it by calling evidence that makes sure – and nothing less than that will do. Sure means just that. These are incredibly serious allegations.”

The court heard the police recovered clothing at two addresses, including one in Princes Street, Eastwood, and another in Broxtowe where Watson was allegedly spotted on the morning of one of the robberies.

Giving evidence in court, forensic scientist Cassandra Harris told the court a blood stain on a jumper found at the Broxtowe house, matched the DNA of Lee Watson.

But the defence said there was DNA from another three people found on the jumper and it was ‘not possible to say when or how a particular sample was left’.

Mr Eckersley said: “Unless you wholly reject and exclude innocent explanations you acquit. Circumstantial evidence may sometimes be conclusive, but it must always be examined. You must be sure there are not other explanations.”

The jury was sent out yesterday, January 24, to consider its verdict. Go to www.eastwoodadvertiser.co.uk for breaking news on the trial.