Two men who robbed a schoolboy – threatening to stab him if he didn’t hand over his phone – have been jailed.
The victim, aged 13 at the time, had been walking along Tarrant Street, Arundel, on the afternoon of 15 March 2018 when he was approached by two unknown men.
They concealed their identities with balaclavas and demanded he hand over his iPhone and iPod Shuffle, and warned “don’t be stupid or you’ll get stabbed”.
In fear of being injured, the teenager, now aged 14, handed over his iPod. However, the incident was witnessed by three members of the public who intervened and got it back.
Two of the witnesses followed the suspects and saw one of them throw an object into bushes. They continued to follow them to the point they were arrested by police nearby.
Officers carried out a search of the area and discovered the discarded item, which was a large kitchen knife, almost 20cm in length.
The suspects were identified as Miguel Mendes and Kai Dore.
Both men were interviewed and charged, and initially denied having any involvement in the robbery.
They were both due to stand trial at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday 24 April, at which point they changed their pleas to guilty.
Mendes, 22, unemployed, of Stane Street, Dorking, Surrey, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for robbery, and ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge.
Dore, 18, unemployed, of Foundry Road, Yapton, was sentenced to a total of 14 months’ detention in a Young Offender Institution – 14 months for robbery and six months for possession of a bladed article in public, to run concurrently. He was also ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge.
The court also approved an order for a £300 reward to be paid to each of the three witnesses.
Detective Constable Louise Clark said: “Dore and Mendes used threats of violence to intimidate a young boy who was simply walking home from school and minding his own business.
“The sentences imposed reflect the seriousness of the crime they committed, and I hope it sends a message to other that knife crime will not be tolerated in Sussex, or anywhere else in the UK.
“I’d like to commend the bravery of the three members of the public who intervened and confronted the offenders, and reported the incident to police. They were key witnesses in bringing these two criminals to justice.
“However, we would encourage anyone not to compromise their own safety – if in doubt, call 999 immediately.”