Clayhall robber who threatened shop staff with meat cleaver is sentenced

A career criminal who robbed the same wine store twice in two days was wished “good luck” by a judge and jailed for four-and-a-half years today.

Paul Harris, 36, of Marston Road, Clayhall, wielded a meat cleaver at staff before stealing two bottles of wine from the Wine Connect store, Chigwell Road, Woodford Green on May 1 after shoving shop boss, Thilagarajah Tnadarajah, out of the way.

Snaresbrook Crown court later heard that two days after, Harris returned with the cleaver and stole �200 cash from the till. Witnesses saw Harris running into a nearby friend’s home in Copford Close, Woodford Green, where he was later arrested and the meat cleaver was discovered.

In a police interview, he insisted he had only taken �95 from the shop.

Harris has had a string of previous convictions including several thefts and a street robbery in 1997, after which he went on the run until police caught him in 2002.

The defendant was handed a four-and-a-half year prison sentence with an extended three-year licence period to “protect the public”.

Judge Louise Kamill said: “You are 36 and this isn’t your first robbery. There have been a number of violent offences and on one occasion you have carried an offensive weapon.

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“You have become a drink and drug addict and have various personal problems. You have been out of control for some time. These offences are so serious that no court could do anything but send you to prison.”

He later wished him “good luck”.

Harris, speaking to Judge Kamill, said: “I would just like to say the drugs and alcohol have wrecked my life. I’m sorry for what I have done and I intend to turn my life around.”

Harris admitted two counts of robbery and one count of possessing an offensive weapon.