A robber who was part of a three-man masked gang which staged a terrifying raid on a supermarket was today jailed for eight and a half years.
Corey Graley was one of three men who carried out the early morning raid on the Tesco Express store in Winchester Road, Grantham, stealing thousands of pounds’ worth of cigarettes.
Jonathan Dunne, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that the gang travelled from the Nottingham area in a stolen vehicle arriving at the store at around 6.30am.
The manager was taken at knife-point into the office and £4,000 worth of cigarettes were stolen.
Staff and the only customer, a 71-year-old woman who had gone to buy her newspapers and milk, were ordered to sit on the floor as two of the masked men accompanied the manager into the office.
Mr Dunn said: “A week before they had stolen, via a car key burglary, the vehicle they were to use to travel from the Nottingham area to Grantham.
“A registration plate stolen from another car was placed on the vehicle when it travelled into Grantham and a different stolen registration plate was placed on it on the way out.
“The robbery happened just half an hour after the shop opened. The manager was, at knifepoint, taken into the office and the cigarettes were stolen.”
Mr Dunn said that Graley stayed at the front door during the raid and after taking a set of keys from one of the staff unsuccessfully tried to lock the door.
“He was desperately trying to lock the door. In fact they were locker keys and wouldn’t lock it.”
The men eventually made off with the cigarettes. The vehicle used in the raid was driven to Cornwall where it was abandoned.
Graley was linked to the raid after his DNA was found on a sock found inside the vehicle. His DNA was also found on a key fob discarded near to the scene.
Mr Dunn said that police investigating the raid also traced CCTV footage of the robbers’ vehicle stopping at a service station on their way to Grantham.
“Graley can be identified from those photographs taken at 3am. Then by looking at the clothing worn by the offenders in the Tesco store they were able to identify him.”
Mr Dunn said that staff and the customer were all badly affected by what happened.
Graley, 47, of Wigman Road, Bilborough, Nottingham, admitted robbery as a result of the incident on October 12 2018. The other two robbers have not been traced.
Judge Andrew Easteal, passing sentence, told him: “I have no choice but to pass a long prison sentence. This was a planned professional robbery. The staff and customer were affected. In particular the manager. A knife was produced and threats were made in a way that he genuinely feared for his life.”
Matthew Smith, in mitigation, said that Graley’s life had been wrecked by his addiction to heroin and mamba.
“He had been evicted from his family home. At the time of this offence he was staying in what he describes as a drug house and became involved in this to fund his addiction.
“He had no knowledge of the knife but he knew something was going to happen in the store.
“This is an offence which for him is out of character and an offence from which he made no gain.
“He deeply regrets it and he is thoroughly ashamed.
“He says that going to prison and being remanded in custody saved his life. He is looking to come out of prison clean of drugs and wants to make a fresh start with his family.”