SLEDGEHAMMER-wielding robbers who traumatised a garage employee during a vicious £29,000 raid at Horndean have been jailed.
Jamie Gatterell, 34, and his accomplice Jacob Jackson, 22, admitted tying up terrified worker Andrew Armitage after luring him to Horndean Tyres on Westfield Industrial Estate, off Portsmouth Road.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Gatterell – a scorned ex-worker at the garage who was sacked in 2015 for fighting with another employee – tied up Mr Armitage before stealing a safe filled with £29,000 in cash.
Their assault, which lasted less than three minutes, left Mr Armitage psychologically traumatised, prosecutor Martin Booth told the court.
Both appeared via video link yesterday as Judge Stephen Climie jailed the pair for a total of 11 years.
Gatterell, of Rapson Close, Paulsgrove, was locked up for seven years and four months for organising the raid while Jackson, of Geoffrey Crescent, Fareham, was jailed for three years and nine months.
Speaking after the sentencing, investigating officer Det Con Jonathan Swift said: ‘Hopefully today’s sentence will be a deterrent to any future instances.
‘This was a well-planned incident which had a significant effect on the victim and a significant term of prison is quite appropriate.
‘Their actions left a lasting impact on Mr Armitage, who now has deep psychological issues that will require on-going treatment.’
At a previous hearing, the court heard the men had contacted the garage shortly after 1am on March 9 last year.
Using a disposable ‘burner phone’ the duo called asking for a tyre fitter to come to Hindhead Tunnel on the A3 to replace a punctured tyre.
When Mr Armitage arrived at the garage, he was ambushed by the pair – who wore masks and gloves – before being bundled into the building and tied up.
Thomas Wilkins, prosecuting, said: ‘The two went upstairs, and straight to where the safe was and ripped it out of the floor. They knew exactly where it was.’
Mr Armitage managed to escape while the robbers were upstairs, fleeing to a nearby hotel where he raised the alarm, Mr Wilkins said.
The pair fled in a car, which they later torched, before police arrived.
The court heard Gatterell paid Jackson £4,000. He spent the rest of the cash.
However, detectives soon managed to tie the mobile phone used to call the garage to Gatterell, who had also used it to call Jackson and buy the getaway car.
Defending Gatterell, David Reid said: ‘Gatterell accepts he was the lead figure and recruited Jackson.
‘He says he was a heavy cocaine user before this robbery, and incurred a serious debt which he had hoped to pay off.
‘Although weapons were produced, they weren’t used, they weren’t bladed and there were no significant injuries to the employee. He says all the money from the robbery is gone.’
Defence counsel Aleksander Lloyd, representing Jackson, said his client’s actions were ‘out of character’ and would have a lasting effect on his young life.
He told the court: ‘He played a fairly limited role and is full of remorse about how the employee was treated. He says he didn’t realise how far Gatterell would go.’