LONDON

A man has been jailed for a violent commercial robbery in Southwark

Edward Woodbridge 43 of Ardgowan Road, SE6, appeared at Inner London Crown Court on Thursday, 25 February where he was sentenced to 16 years and three months’ imprisonment for robbery, possession of an imitation firearm, possession of a firearm whilst committing a Schedule 1 offence, and grievous bodily harm with intent.

The sentencing followed Woodbridge’s conviction by a jury at the same court on Thursday, 7 January.

At around 6.40am on Thursday, 12 September 2019, Woodbridge had arrived at Surrey Quays on a pedal cycle. He entered a convenience store at Sirius Building whilst the shop was open to the public.

He held a single-barrelled shotgun/rifle to the cashiers head and also threatened him with a knife demanding that the safe be opened. When he found that there was no safe, he demanded the contents of the till.

When Woodbridge entered the till area, the victim, a man aged 40s, in fear for his life, took the opportunity to disarm Woodbridge of the knife.

During the incident, the cashier sustained deep cuts to his head, neck and hand. His injuries required significant medical treatment, but thankfully, although serious, the injuries were not life-threatening.

Woodbridge, having helped himself to cigarettes and less than £250 from the till, then fled the store to escape on the bike which he had parked facing away from the shop to speed up his getaway, in the direction of New Cross.

An investigation launched by the Met’s Flying Squad found that Woodbridge had planned the robbery in advance, even conducting reconnaissance in the area on the morning of the robbery before entering the store.

Following an armed operation, Woodbridge was arrested at his home address in Ardgowan Road, Catford, on Friday, 1 November 2019. He was taken to Bromley Police Station where he was charged that same day with robbery, possession of a firearm whilst committing a Schedule 1 offence, threatening a person with a bladed/sharply pointed article in a public place and Section 18 grievous bodily harm with intent.

He was remanded in custody to appear at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court on Saturday, 2 November 2019 where he was further remanded to await trial.

On Thursday, 7 January 2021, following a trial at the Inner London Crown Court Woodbridge was found guilty of robbery, possession of an imitation firearm whilst committing a schedule 1 offence, possession of an offensive weapon and GBH with intent. He was remanded in custody to await sentence.

Detective Inspector Gail Lilley, of the Flying Squad, said: “It was sheer luck that the injuries inflicted on the victim were not life threatening, his quick thinking actions in disarming Woodbridge of the knife may well have saved him from even more serious harm.

“I applaud his actions, although, I know from years of investigative experience that the effects of becoming a victim of violent crime can linger far beyond the healing of wounds.

“Woodbridge left the store with some cigarettes and £234, a haul that will cost him 16 years of his freedom, something on which he can reflect as he serves his sentence.”