Bungling mugger rifled wrong pocket of victim

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

A bungling mugger who tried to rob a man he targeted at a cash machine was left empty-handed when he rifled the wrong pocket of his terrified victim, a court heard.

Drug addict Darren Wrighton (34) had watched Daniel Morris withdrawing money from the hole in the wall and saw him put it in a back pocket in his jeans – but searched the wrong one after pouncing and pinning the victim to a wall. Mr Morris was able to push his attacker off and ran away.

People have got to believe and think they are safe to use cash machines, without being followed from there and targeted for robbery

Judge

Wrighton, who has more than 80 offences on his criminal record, including robbery, is back behind bars again, after admitting attempted robbery on May 22nd, at Burnley Crown Court. The defendant, of Forest Street, Burnley, was locked up for two years.

Prosecutor Stephen Parker told the hearing Mr Morris (23) was on his way to a house in Thirlmere Road, Burnley, at 6-30pm, to buy a push bike he had seen advertised on the internet. He went to a cash machine in Colne Road with his cousin, she withdrew £30 and the victim folded the notes up and put them in his right hand rear jeans pocket.

He continued to Thirlmere Road and was using a map app on his phone to find the address. Mr Morris turned into Disraeli Street and, within seconds, was approached by the defendant, who was riding a push bike. Wrighton asked him for the time, Mr Morris told him the time and carried on walking. The defendant then asked for a cigarette and the victim told him he did not smoke, but had some mints and offered Wrighton one.

The prosecutor continued: “The defendant put his bike down and held his hands out. The defendant then asked him for £1. Mr Morris said he didn’t have any money on him, but the defendant said, ‘I’m taking your money’, grabbed hold of the front of his jacket and pushed him against a wall. At that stage, the defendant reached for the back pocket of Mr Morris’s jeans, but only searched his left pocket and it was the other pocket the money was in.”

Mr Parker said Mr Morris ran towards Colne Road, where it was busy and Wrighton picked up his bike and cycled off. The victim leant against a lamp post trying to calm down, then retraced his steps and saw the defendant again. Wrighton shouted to him to go over, as he wanted to apologise. The prosecutor said: “Mr Morris shouted he wasn’t going anywhere near him, ran off down a nearby street and rang the police.”

Mr Parker said: “Mr Morris found the situation terrifying. Once he ran away, he felt a surge of adrenalin and realised that male could have done something to him and he could have been hurt.”

Officers arrived, were given a description of the defendant and he was arrested nearby. He exercised his right to silence when interviewed.

Richard Taylor (defending) handed the judge a letter from the defendant, in which he said Wrighton expressed some remorse and awareness of how the victim would have felt. The solicitor said: “He has had time to reflect in custody.”

Mr Taylor said the defendant’s parents were in the public gallery and continued: “They despair of him, but are supportive because he is their son.”

Passing sentence, Judge Beverley Lunt said Wrighton had an “appalling” record, although most of it was petty crime.

She told him: “People have got to believe and think they are safe to use cash machines, without being followed from there and targeted for robbery, which is exactly what you did on this occasion.”