Leeds shop robber spared jail after bringing cash to court to repay what he stole

A Leeds shop robber has been spared custody after staying out of trouble and raising the cash to repay what he took.
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Judge Ray Singh said he would "keep his promise" to not lock up Richard Cole who snatched a £750 gold necklace from Cash Convertors.

Cole was brought before Leeds Crown Court in November where Judge Singh said he would give him an opportunity to prove himself by continuing to hold down a job, providing for his son, committing no further offences and bring £750 with him to court to pay compensation.

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And having adhered to all conditions, he was spared custody and given a 20-month jail sentence suspended for two years, handed 180 hours of unpaid work and pay the compensation.

He told 34-year-old Cole that he had wanted "some confidence" in him by setting the strict conditions. He added: "I'm going to keep my promise to you. But you came very, very close to going to prison. Do not mess this up."

Cole targeted the Cash Converters on Roundhay Road. (pic by Google Maps)Cole targeted the Cash Converters on Roundhay Road. (pic by Google Maps)
Cole targeted the Cash Converters on Roundhay Road. (pic by Google Maps)

Cole had entered the Roundhay Road shop on December 13, 2022, telling staff he was looking to buy jewellery. He said he liked the nine-carat necklace in the window and asked to take a closer look.

It was retrieved from the window display and passed between him and the employee. But the worker became suspicious when Cole looked towards the door. He then quickly pushed the worker and fled the shop holding the necklace.

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He was eventually arrested in March 2023 and admitted the crime, giving a full account to the police, telling them that he owed a drug debt and was being forced to turn to crim to repay it. Cole, who was living in Whinmoor, but now of Hill Rise, Stowmarket, Suffolk, admitted a charge of robbery.

He has 16 previous convictions for 25 offences, including six for violence and four for theft, but none for robbery.

Mitigating, Steven Dyble said previously: "He has abused drugs sadly for many years which underlies a significant part of his offending. He made a lifestyle decision to move away from the area and has moved back down to Suffolk. To his credit, he has managed to remain completely drug-free. It’s a tremendous achievement.”