Robbers in court over a series of shop raids

editorial image

TWO men have pleaded guilty to taking part in a series of armed robberies in and around Rugby.

Staff at a number of convenience stores were threatened and attacked by a gang of masked robbers armed with baseball bats, crowbars and knives. Some were even left tied up.

The robberies happened in six months, with 16 small shops in the area targeted.

More than £20,000 was taken from the stores.

Mark Cornwall, 37, and Dustin McCormack, 34, were charged with conspiracy to rob.

During the trial at Leicester Crown Court last week, McCormack changed his plea to guilty on the first day, and Cornwall changed his plea to guilty on the second day.

Similar charges against Cornwall’s brother Jason, 25, were dropped. All three men are from Coventry.

The men were all accused of taking part in the robberies between April 20 and September 30, 2010.

The robberies included one at the Co-op in Newbold on August 17 last year at 9.15pm.

Richard Murray, prosecuting, said of the incident: “McCormack was identified by a particular feature he had, a tattoo with his partner’s name on - Jane.

“One of the witnesses saw this when he was grabbing her.”

He added: “McCormack’s phone was picked up in close proximity to where the offence took place, just before and just after the offence.”

A number of shops in Daventry, Banbury and Northampton were also targeted.

Mr Murray said automatic number plate recognition cameras had helped find the robbers.

The court heard details from various robberies, including one in which a masked intruder grabbed a member of staff and took her and another worker into the backroom where they were forced to open a safe before being left tied up with a cable. In another, a shop worker was attacked with a pair of scissors.

The jury was discharged when Cornwall changed his plea.

Cornwall and McCormack will be sentenced on Friday October 28. The pair were remanded in custody.