Updated: Saturday, 4th April 2020 @ 10:16am

They'll never recognise me! Duo who thought sunglasses would hide identity jailed over Newton Heath robbery

They'll never recognise me! Duo who thought sunglasses would hide identity jailed over Newton Heath robbery

By Glen Keogh

A violent pair of robbers – one who was stupid enough to think sunglasses would hide his identity – were jailed yesterday over their roles in a raid on a Newton Heath off-license.  

Shane Doyle, 32 and Francis Hobin, 38, were sentenced for a total of nine and a half years for the robbery where elderly staff were threatened at knifepoint.

In the incident on September 9 last year, Hobin pretended to be a customer and went into an off-license in Newton Heath, picked up some milk and sugar and took it to the counter to pay for it.

As the shop assistant, in her 60s, took the money and closed the till, Doyle, wearing sunglasses and a hat to conceal his identity, burst into the shop armed with a large kitchen knife.

Doyle continued to shout at the woman, demanding money from the till, which he then grabbed and tried to pull off the counter.

CAUGHT IN THE ACT: Doyle threatens staff while Hobin pretends to be a customer

The owner, a 60-year-old man, then tried to help his colleague but Doyle lunged towards him with the knife and punched him twice hard in the face.

Detective Constable Adam Cronshaw said: “This was a calculated robbery against the owners of this shop, who were subjected to a violent attack at the hands of Doyle, just so he could get his hands on cash from the till to buy drugs.”

Doyle only let go of his knife to wrench the till from the counter, which he ran out of the shop with.

Throughout the whole incident, Hobin stayed in the shop and watched what was unfolding, even leaving his personal details with shop staff so he could act as a witness to the robbery.

It turned out that Doyle was living with Hobin, and they were arrested at Hobin’s home address on Marlinford Drive on September 13 last year.

The till was found a few streets from the incident covered in Doyle’s fingerprints and he was also recognised from CCTV footage of the incident.

VIOLENT: Doyle threatens a shop worker with a knife

DC Cronshaw added: “Doyle conspired with his accomplice, Hobin, whose job it was to go into the shop posing as a normal customer to get staff to open the till. Hobin pretended he was an innocent bystander and even stayed behind after the robbery in a false gesture of support to the victims, when he left his details as a witness.

“However, police recognised Doyle from the CCTV and were quickly able to establish that the pair were living together, where they were subsequently arrested.”

Doyle, of no fixed address, was found guilty of robbery following a four day trial and has been jailed for six years.

Hobin, of Marlinford Drive, Newton Heath, pleaded guilty to robbery at an earlier hearing and has been jailed for three and a half years.

They were sentenced at Manchester Crown Court yesterday.

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