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Bromley supermarket robber jailed

PUBLISHED: 16:01 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:01 21 September 2018

Billy Friend has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison. Picture: Kent Police

Billy Friend has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison. Picture: Kent Police

Archant

A prolific robber from Bromley who stole televisions from supermarkets in areas of Swanley and Sevenoaks has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

Billy Friend would snatch expensive items from shelves and then threaten any staff who dared to challenge him, before jumping into a waiting getaway car.

On January 30 this year, Friend, 37, entered a Tesco store in Riverhead in Sevenoaks, with another man.

They proceeded to remove a large boxed television from one of the aisles and then attempted to leave through a fire door. When this failed the pair headed for the main exit and fled to a waiting car. Staff who challenged them were threatened with violence.

Weeks later, on March 10, Friend was one of four thieves who targeted another supermarket, this time in Swanley.

After stealing a television they were challenged by a member of security staff.

Friend was armed with a hockey stick and in the car park pushed the victim with it, causing her to fall to the floor.

They then escaped with the stolen goods, again into a waiting car.

Formerly of Star Lane, Orpington, Friend was arrested on March 19.

Witnesses later picked him out of identification parades and officers also recognised him from CCTV images.

Despite all the evidence he denied any wrong doing when he appeared before Maidstone Crown Court.

The case went to trial, following which a jury found Friend guilty of two counts of robbery and two of theft.

Further counts of robbery, theft and for possessing an offensive weapon (hockey stick) were left on file.

He was sentenced on September 19 to seven years and four months imprisonment.

Investigating officer, det con John Lewis Williams said: “Criminals like Friend think they are above the law and can do as they please without consequence.

“He has shown absolutely no regard for the fear and distress his violent actions have caused innocent members of staff and customers and even when faced with compelling CCTV evidence refused to admit any guilt.

“The courts have thankfully recognised Friend is a dangerous and prolific criminal and also a bully. Honest hard working members of society should not be subject to his appalling behaviour and so it is pleasing to see justice has been served, with what is a significant prison sentence.”

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