Pair jailed for aiding armed robber flee

TWO men have been jailed for helping an armed robber flee the scene of his crime.Gavin Friston and Paul Cunnington were in a BMW which ploughed into an Ipswich shop window after a high-speed police chase.

A BRAVE shop worker who foiled an armed robber and alerted the police was today praised for her courage and quick-thinking.

Lesley Moore, manager of the Alldays shop in Walton, Felixstowe, had a sawn-off shotgun stuck in her face by robber Ian Brooks.

But after handing over £45 from the till, she fooled him by pretending to go in to a back room of the shop to open the safe – only to lock herself in and activate the panic alarm.

Today Brooks' two gang members, Gavin Friston and Paul Cunnington are starting a three-year jail sentence for helping the gunman flee the scene of his crime.

Friston and Cunnington waited outside the shop in a BMW later ploughed into an Ipswich shop window after a 100mph police chase up the A14.

Pauline Wilson, assistant manager of Alldays in Walton High Street paid tribute to Mrs Moore and said the manager did not see herself as a heroine.

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Seven months after the terrifying ordeal the 44-year-old mother-of two has completely recovered, and along with colleague shop assistant Sarah Saggers, who was also caught up in the drama, still works at the shop.

"Lesley dealt with the situation the way she should have done. She kept calm and told the police as soon as possible," said Ms Wilson.

"They're fine, they have both been coming in to work – no problem. They have just carried on as normal and coped with it brilliantly.

"They were apprehensive with dealing with the first customer, like you would be, other than that the first customer came and went and they were back to normal. We are a good strong sturdy lot us lot."

Ms Wilson said Mrs Moore was an easygoing and robust person. "She doesn't let anything get to her or knock her for six."

At the time of the incident Mrs Moore said: "A man came in the store before 7am and looked around the store for a while. As he approached the counter he pulled out a sawn-off shotgun out of a holdall and pointed it right at me.

"He said he didn't want to hurt me to open the safe and I told him I didn't carry the keys on me and I went out the back to get them. I then shut the door, which is number coded, and raised the alarm.

"Obviously I was extremely nervous but it didn't sink in until after the incident.

"You often wonder how you will cope in situations like this and thankfully no one was hurt. I am just relieved it's all over."

A jury at Ipswich Crown Court decided both Friston, 30, of The Wheelwrights, Trimley St Mary, and Cunnington, 30, of The Walk, Felixstowe, were guilty of aiding Brooks, but cleared them of robbery charges. They had denied both charges.

Cunnington admitted a charge of dangerous driving.

His Honour Judge John Devaux sentenced both men to three years in prison, telling them: "You have both been convicted of assisting Brooks after the robbery had been committed.

"You knew he had been involved in a serious offence. Between you, you did your utmost to ensure he was not captured and sentenced.

"It was no thanks to you that he was ultimately arrested."

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