Asda armed robbery: Raider awaits sentence

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A COURT has heard how a Royal Mail Delivery employee was attacked with a machete during a cash-in-transit robbery.

Preston Crown Court was told that James Hodkinson thought he was going to die during the raid at Asda in Colne on May 23rd, 2005. He sustained three marks to his arm.

Appearing for sentence was Stephen Devalda (28), of Stanton Avenue, Salford, who had admitted a charge of conspiracy to rob.

He had failed to attend court and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest on October 29th, 2007. He was arrested in Spain on an international arrest warrant which was executed on March 31st.

Mr Timothy Brennand (prosecuting) told the court the robbery took place around 2 p.m. Mr Hodkinson was passing cash to a colleague in the Royal Mail security van. He was approached by two men, one armed with a tube the size of a Smartie tube and the other a machete. Both were wearing helmets and balaclavas. Mr Hodkinson was stuck with such force that he fell to the floor. He curled up to protect himself. Blows were struck with the machete causing injury to his arm. One man egged the other on saying “kill him.”

Colleague Robert Walker threw out £25,000. The robbers fled on a motor bike and swopped transport to a car.

Miss Rachel Smith (defending) said Devalda’s role was to organise transport to and from the incident. He went to the location where the bike was to be left and arranged for someone to collect it.

Judge Norman Wright adjourned sentence until October 21st to hear mitigation. Devalda was remanded in custody.