June 11, 2020 1.52 pm This story is over 25 months old

Robber jailed for threats to blow up Gainsborough police station

He also held up a shop at gunpoint

An armed robber who held up a shop at gunpoint went on to threaten to blow up a police station when he realised officers were looking for him, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Matthew Percival carried out the raid on McColl’s store in Spital Terrace, Gainsborough, making off with over £200 after pointing the weapon at the two female members of staff on duty.

The court heard that after studying CCTV footage of the area police identified Percival as the robber and began looking for him.

An officer made contact with Percival by phone and during the conversation Percival threatened that he would blow up Gainsborough Police Station if officers went to his mother’s address to look for him.

Percival told officers: “If one more police officer goes to my mum’s I swear I’ll go to your police station and blow it up. I’ve got explosive devices. You know I’m not joking. I’m serious.”

Later the same morning he was seen in Gainsborough and arrested.

He gave a false name and when he was interviewed he gave a false alibi claiming he was on his way to Scunthorpe at the time the robbery took place.

The weapon he used has never been found but was identified as an air rifle.

Percival, 31, of Wheeldon Street, Gainsborough, admitted charges of robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence as a result of the incident at McColl’s on January 25 this year. He also admitted possession of a small amount of a painkilling drug found on him when he was arrested.

The court was told he had 34 previous convictions for a total of 60 offences.

Percival was jailed for eight years and nine months.

As a result of being ruled as “dangerous” he will serve at least two-thirds of his sentence before he can be considered for release.

He was also given a three year extended licence which means that following his release he will be at risk until 2031 of being returned to prison if he breaches the terms of his licence.

Judge Catrina Sjolin Knight, passing sentence, told him: “You are obsessed with being seen as the hard man and living up to that description.

“You clearly think you are above the law. Your attitude to the law is shown by your threats to blow up the police station because the police were looking for you at your mother’s address.”

Katya Saudek, prosecuting, said the raid on the newsagents’ store took place on a Saturday night in January.

She said: “He had his hood up in an attempt to disguise himself and pointed the gun directly into their faces.”

Percival went on to demand the money from the till and one of the terrified workers threw the cash at him.

Percival then picked up the money and left with the £238 from the till.

Miss Saudek said the two members of staff feared they were going to die during the incident. They have since suffered nightmares and flashbacks as a result of what happened.

Sunil Khanna, in mitigation, said that Percival was desperate for money to clear a drug debt.

“He had been using cocaine. Initially he was doing odd bits of labouring and used the money from that to pay for his drugs.

“But he built up a debt of £1,000 and was told that it needed to be repaid. He was threatened by the dealer and then the dealer began to threaten Mr Percival’s mother. He was desperate.”