Robbers jailed for knifepoint raid on Harborough shop - days after targeting a Desborough shop

Both had long criminal records - one had 149 previous convictions

Monday, 25th January 2021, 3:17 pm

Two serial criminals who carried out a late-night knifepoint raid at a Market Harborough store days after targeting a Desborough shop have been handed long jail sentences.

James McClafferty, 37, and Gary Woods, 36, both of Corby, stole £400 and stamps worth £100 after holding up terrified staff at the Spar convenience shop on Coventry Road, Market Harborough.

They also robbed the Co-op in Desborough along with outlets in the nearby villages of Brigstock and Broughton in a seven-day mini-crime spree.

James McClafferty (left) and Gary Woods.

Woods was jailed for seven years nine months and McClafferty jailed for eight years nine months after they were found guilty of all four robberies at Northampton Crown Court.

Both were warned they will have to serve two thirds of their sentence before they are considered for release.

Woods carried out the robberies wielding a kitchen knife with his face covered and his hood up.

The repeat offender had racked up a staggering 149 previous convictions and had been offending since the age of 12, the court heard.

Getaway driver McClafferty had clocked up 57 offences after starting to commit crimes in 2002 when he was 19.

The two criminals both denied their crimes - forcing shopkeepers to give evidence in court as they relived the terrifying attacks.

At about 9.25pm on January 9, 2018, the two offenders robbed the Co-op in Braybrooke Road, Desborough, stealing £162 and cigarettes, sparking the whirlwind spate of crime.

Woods and McClafferty raided the Co-op on High Street, Broughton, escaping with £172, at 5pm on January 13.

Just hours later that night, at about 9.30pm, they struck the Spar on Coventry Road, Market Harborough, stealing £400 and £100 of stamps.

And three days later, on January 16, the pair robbed the Co-op on High Street, Brigstock, pinching £250 cash.

A car McClafferty had borrowed was used in the four quickfire robberies and a hoodie belonging to Woods was found by police in the getaway vehicle.

Vital mobile phone evidence also placed McClafferty at the scenes.

Judge Rebecca Crane branded the four robberies “very nasty” as she said: "They were all small local stores.

"Gary Woods went into the stores with his face covered, brandishing a kitchen knife and demanded cash be put in a bag.

"CCTV shows how terrifying it must have been for the shop assistants."

A woman shop worker who was threatened at knifepoint by Woods told the court she was still traumatised by the terrifying incident three years on.