Pair jailed after armed robbery at North Shields store

Craig Watson (top) and Lee Stephenson have been jailed for 21 years combined after an armed robbery on a North Shields store.
Craig Watson (top) and Lee Stephenson have been jailed for 21 years combined after an armed robbery on a North Shields store.

Two men have been jailed for an armed robbery at a North Shields store.

Lee James Stephenson and Craig Robert William Watson were sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court for a string of offences.

Stephenson, 39, of Loxley Close, New York, was sentenced to 12 years after a trial for the robbery, possession of heroin, common assault, joint offences of theft from a vehicle, joint attempted robbery, and joint burglary.

Watson, 34, of no fixed address, was sentenced to nine years after he pleaded guilty to robbery, possession of a knife blade, attempted burglary, resisting a police officer in the execution of their duty and joint charges of theft from a vehicle and burglary.

The robbery took place at the One Stop Shop on Kirton Park Terrace in North Shields on Thursday, July 13, at 6.21am.

The pair, dressed in black wearing balaclavas entered the store and threatened staff with a gun and a crow bar.

They stole cash and ran off. Nobody was injured in the incident however the member of staff was left shaken.

Police were quickly on the scene and they were subsequently arrested after a search was made of the area.

After the case, Detective Constable Ian Pattison, Northern CID said: “This pair deserve to be locked up and the public should be reassured that they are now starting lengthy prison sentences.

“They have now been convicted of a string of offences and will have time to reflect on their criminal behaviour behind bars.

“We are committed to taking action against those responsible for serious offences such as robbery and carrying weapons.

“We recognise these offences can cause a great deal of concern in our communities and that’s why we’re firmly focused on making sure offenders are caught and face the consequences of their actions.

“These substantial sentences send a strong message to any other criminals operating in our region - we will find you, we will arrest you and we will make sure you spend a long time behind bars.”