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Masked Robber Apologises To Bargoed Snooker Club Barwoman After She Recognises His Voice

by : Emily Brown on : 11 Mar 2020 17:33

A masked robber called off his heist and apologised to the barwoman after she recognised his voice and identified him by name. 

Luke Jones, 29, was sentenced on Tuesday, March 10, for the December 2019 incident in which he threatened Emporium Snooker Club bartender Yvette Smith with a gun.

Smith was closing the south Wales club in Bargoed at around 11:15pm on December 27 when the masked robber burst through the door and ‘waved the gun in her face’.

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Attempted robber threatens barmaid with gunAttempted robber threatens barmaid with gunWales News Service

It later transpired the gun was fake, but prosecutor Heath Edwards said Smith believed it was real at the time.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Jones was a customer at the club and had got to know Smith during his visits there. In the past he had offered to help out, but Smith grew suspicious when he started asking her about the cashing-up procedure, which made her feel ‘uncomfortable’.

When threatened with the gun, Smith said:

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Why are you doing this, Luke?

Robber removes his mask after bartender recognises his voiceRobber removes his mask after bartender recognises his voiceWales News Service

Edwards explained the bar worker had recognised the robber, and said he removed his balaclava when she called him by his name.

He added:

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Miss Smith was particularly fearful of guns as one of her family took his own life with a firearm.

Jones would have known this as she had told him about it.

Attempted robber who removed mask after bartender recognised himAttempted robber who removed mask after bartender recognised himWales News Service

The court heard Jones then told her it wasn’t a real gun and that he was only ‘joking’. He proceeded to remove his mask and gloves and began to hug and console Smith, and also took apart the weapon to show it was a BB gun.

In a statement to police, Smith said she had been prescribed medication to help her sleep as a result of the incident.

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She explained:

I’m absolutely petrified following this incident. I’m distraught. I do not know if I can work in the bar again.

I honestly thought it was a real gun and I was going to be killed. Even talking about it to the police is upsetting to me. I could not sleep last night as every time I closed my eyes I could see a gun in my face.

Attempted robber hugs bartender after she recognises his voiceAttempted robber hugs bartender after she recognises his voiceWales News Service

Edward Mitchard, defending, said Jones carried out the ‘impulsive’, ‘farcical’ attempted robbery to try and fund his drug habit. He added Jones offered Smith a drink after taking his mask off, and said that only around 12 seconds passed between the time Jones entered the club and when he removed his balaclava.

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Following the encounter with Smith, Jones fled the club and hid in the attic of his father’s home just a few hundreds yards away. Police officers soon found him, and after initially refusing he came down 15 minutes later.

Mr Edwards commented:

[Jones] said he was trying to play a joke, but did not realise the affect his actions would have on her.

Bar where attempted robber threatened bartender with gunBar where attempted robber threatened bartender with gunWales News Service

Judge Michael Fitton QC told Jones:

You were out to get money for drugs. You clearly terrified [Smith] and she still suffers trauma from the impact of the event.

At the time of the attempted robbery, Jones was on bail after police found heroin and a knuckleduster in his possession five months earlier.

Robber removes his mask after bartender recognises his voiceRobber removes his mask after bartender recognises his voiceWales News

He pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and possession of cannabis, and was sentenced to a total of eight years in jail. Jones will serve half his sentence before being released on licence.

Jones was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge, and he must abide by a 15-year restraining order not to contact Smith.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Bargoed, Cardiff Crown Court, Emporium Snooker Club, gun, robbery, South Wales