A DRUG addict who tried to rob a Chinese takeaway by wielding the broken end of a vacuum cleaner as a sword has been jailed for 20 months.
Jack Kemp, 21, of Whyke Road, Chichester, demanded cash from the register of Thai Pan in Bognor Regis on February 16.
He was armed with a two-foot object wrapped in plastic which he ‘brandished as a sword’ - but he left empty handed when the owner chased him off with a broom.
Kemp entered the Chichester Road takeaway at around 8pm and waited in the entrance for 20 minutes pretending to look at a menu, Chichester Crown court heard today.
“Chuanhao Weng was working at the reception and the defendant approached him with something in his hand which was around two foot long and wrapped in dark plastic in the shape of a very large knife,” said Alexander Williams, prosecuting. “He waved it at Mr Weng’s face as if it was a sword and said ‘put the money in the bag’
“He (Mr Weng) was very shocked and didn’t know how to act but he told the man ‘there’s CCTV cameras watching’. The defendant said ‘I don’t care about the camera, put the money in the bag’.”
Mr Weng was worried for his own safety, and that Kemp would damage the family shop which they had worked hard to build, Mr Williams said.
Mr Weng went into the kitchen and told his father they were being robbed, and when he then picked up a broom and another sharp object and confronted Kemp, he ran off empty handed.
Kemp had been seen acting suspiciously in the One Stop Store in Durlston Drive around 30 minutes before and police had been called.
The court also heard that Kemp had been handed 39 previous convictions for 75 offences, including shoplifting, drugs possession, burglary and battery.
On the day of the attempted robbery he had appeared in court and been fined for driving an uninsured vehicle.
Defending, Hannah Smith said Kemp was ‘deeply ashamed’ of his actions, which had been driven by the need for money to buy drugs.
“The purpose of the weapon was only to threaten and not to use, and it was not a dangerous weapon like a knife or a gun per se,” she said.
Kemp was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment and told he will serve half in custody.
Passing sentence, Judge Christopher Parker QC said he was resisting imposing the recommended five-year jail term because Kemp’s learning disability made him a vulnerable young person.
“But you should be in no doubt that if you come before me or anyone else in court again you will be going to prison for a lot longer then you are having to today,” he said.