A pair of thugs who carried out two armed robberies at a Dunstable pub have been jailed for nine and 10 years respectively.
Paul Shah, 37, of Winchester Road, Sandy, and Adam Urbanowicz, 21, formerly of Vale Court, High Street North, worked together to set up and carry out robberies in an attempt to steal takings from the Market Cross pub.
Shah was the ex-deputy manager of the pub, and during the trial was found guilty of conspiracy to rob and perverting the course of justice.
Urbanowicz was found guilty of conspiracy to rob and possession of an imitation firearm.
On December 13 at Luton Crown Court, Shah was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while Urbanowicz was jailed for nine years and four months.
During the first robbery on October 1 last year, Urbanowicz stabbed a man who worked at the pub before fleeing the scene.
In a statement, the victim said: “I am nervous in crowds and when in groups of people, I am always worried when I am inadvertently bumped into by strangers. I am constantly worried when someone is walking directly towards me and constantly checking to see if I am being followed.
"This has led me not to trust new people who I am meeting, for I am always wondering if they are targeting me.
“I have had panic attacks, even when at the theatre and when an actor unexpectedly pulled a knife out. Due to how close I was, in the front row, I was shocked and fell into panic.”
Three days later, on October 4, 2018, the pub was robbed by Shah and Urbanowicz - who were both disguised wearing masks.
Earlier that evening Shah had offered to stay with the duty manager and had left a door open, before returning to commit the robbery just minutes later.
The pair were armed with an imitation firearm, demanded money and stole £4,000.
In a statement, the victim of the armed robbery referred to Shah as someone thought of as a friend: “Knowing now that he was the leader in the crime that I had been witness to makes the events even worse.
"I trusted this man and called him a friend. His actions have left me feeling hurt and vulnerable.
“When feeling well enough to return to work, I was there a week before the robbery came back to haunt me. I became really depressed and tearful and to make matters worse my name was being dragged through mud.
"I felt I needed to terminate my position as I was unable to carry out my role effectively knowing my reputation was being judged for a crime I had nothing to do with.”
Detective Sergeant Zac Kozlowski, who investigated the incidents, said: “Neither Shah or Urbanowicz cared about their victims, only thinking about themselves and the potential financial rewards they could gain.
"I am pleased that the men have been jailed, and I hope the sentences they received give them some sense of closure.”