Robber admits to armed raids at village post offices

The Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington, where Warwick Crown Court is located.
The Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington, where Warwick Crown Court is located.

A Warwick man has been remanded in custody after he admitted carrying out armed robberies at two village post offices, but an alleged accomplice in one of the raids is to stand trial.

Matthew Baines pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to robbing an assistant at the post office based in the Village Shop in Church Street, Barford, last month.

Baines, aged 33, of Langcliffe Avenue, Warwick, also admitted possessing a bladed article, a knife, at the time of the robbery on August 5, in which he escaped with 
£1,829.77.

He pleaded guilty to a second robbery four days later at the post office in Bishops Itchington, from where he escaped with £2,284 and possessing a bladed article, an axe.

But he denied a further charge of attempting to rob a man of his car in Poplar Road, Bishops Itchington, as he made his escape following the raid.

And prosecutor Ian Speed said those pleas were accepted, explaining: “The attempted robbery, we take the view, forms part and parcel of the escape, and we will ask for that matter to lie on the file.”

With Baines in the dock was Daniel Hay, aged 34, of Portobello Way, Warwick, who pleaded not guilty to taking part in the Bishops Itchington raid.

His barrister Catherine O’Bourne said: “He denies being present during the offence and acting with the co-defendant.”

It is alleged that Hay was with Barnes when he bought the axe at another shop before the robbery, during which there was a second man whose clothes matched what he had been seen wearing.

But Hay interjected from the dock: “The CCTV shows me, that I wasn’t with Mr Barnes.

“I was in the shop, but I wasn’t there when Matthew bought the axe.”

The case was adjourned for Hay to stand trial later this year, with Barnes’s sentencing adjourned until after the trial, and both men were remanded in custody.