Laxfield: Woman “blinded by love” reported getaway car as stolen after Co-op raid

Police at the scene of a robbery at the Co-op in Laxfield

Police at the scene of a robbery at the Co-op in Laxfield - Credit:

A WOMAN “blinded by love” reported her car as stolen to help her boyfriend after an armed robbery at Laxfield Co-op, near Woodbridge.

Norwich Crown Court heard Anna Spina claimed the vehicle had been taken after the last in a series of robberies in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Northampton, during which a total of £95,000 was stolen.

During the getaway following the Laxfield raid the 41-year-old’s boyfriend reversed her VW into a police car in Rushbrooke, near Bury St Edmunds, so it could no longer continue a pursuit.

Yesterday Spina appeared in court to be sentenced after previously pleading guilty to assisting an offender.

William Carter, prosecuting, said Daniel Bage, Spina’s then boyfriend, and Shaun Martin have both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and will be sentenced next month.

It followed 11 robberies which were carried out on convenience stores between April and September last year.

Mr Carter said: “That offence, to which she pleaded guilty, was related to the final robbery in the series which happened on September 5 at a Co-op store in Laxfield, Suffolk.”

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The court heard the car used by the robbers was a black VW Golf that belonged to Spina which was spotted as it was making its getaway and chased by police.

Mr Carter said: “At one point the car was stopped and the driver, Bage, reversed it into the car that was chasing, disabling it.”

Bage made a total of five calls to Spina and shortly after his first call she called police to report her car as stolen.

Mr Carter said: “The purpose of her action was plain; to do what she could to divert the police off the scent of Daniel Bage, her boyfriend.”

Hugh Vass, mitigating, said Spina did not know the extent of what Bage had been up to and in a “panic” did what she was told. He said she was “blinded by her love for Mr Bage” who appeared to be the “love of her life”.

Sentencing Spina to nine months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, Judge Mark Lucraft said it was an offence which passed the custody threshold.

Spina, of Newport Pagnell Road, Northampton, was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work in the next 12 months and keep in touch with probation.

Bage, 29, of Cotswold Avenue, Northampton, and Martin, 35, of Darwin Walk, Northampton will be sentenced on April 22.

After the Laxfield robbery, police said a member of staff was threatened with what was believed to be a screwdriver before cash was stolen.