Two teens who targeted Sheffield bus drivers in two armed raids have been jailed for a total of 10 years.
Kyle Aldridge, aged 18, waved a hammer inches from one bus driver’s face and held another at gunpoint in his ‘disgusting’ attempts to steal their fares.
And 18-year-old Alex Waby was part of a balaclava-clad gang which threatened the driver in the first horror attack, and acted as a look-out during the second.
Jailing the pair, Judge Peter Kelson QC told them: “I have in mind the need to protect our bus drivers. They provide an invaluable service to our society.
“Those people who offend against our bus drivers will suffer severe punishment.”
Sheffield Crown Court heard the first robbery occurred on Sunday, February 8, and involved a driver on bus number 47 route from Shiregreen to Herdings.
Richard Thyne, prosecuting, said: “At 7pm, he was parked at the terminus on Raeburn Road, which, by his description, is poorly-lit and a little remote.
“An alarm indicated the engine cover at the rear of the bus had been opened. As he walked towards the back, he saw four youths with their faces covered.
“One of them, which turned out to be Aldridge, was brandishing a hammer.”
The driver tried to run back to his cab, but was stopped as Aldridge waved a hammer inches from his head.
Aldridge reached into the driver’s shirt and grabbed £120 in bank notes, while the change bag in the cab was ripped open and the thugs – two of whom were never identified – scrambled around on the floor to collect as much as they could.
The second offence, an attempted robbery, occurred two nights later and targeted a different driver parked at the same terminus at 10.30pm.
Mr Thyne said: “Aldridge walked onto the bus, carrying a black handgun. He shouted ‘give me your money’.
“The driver says he didn’t feel particularly scared at the time as his instincts took over.
“He said Aldridge was a bit of an idiot and told him ‘on your bike, I haven’t got any money’.”
Aldridge, of Reney Avenue, Greenhill, was jailed for six years, while Waby, of St Barnabas Road, Highfield, was sentenced to four years.
In a letter to the Judge, Aldridge said: “After reflecting on my actions, I have nothing but admiration and an empathetic point of view towards the bus drivers.
“I regret every one of my disgusting actions.”
Ben Gilligan, of First in South Yorkshire, said: “This result reflects the serious nature of these incidents. Although such incidents are rare, they can have serious impacts on our staff and our customers.
“We’ll always prioritise the safety of our staff and customers and I’m pleased we’ve been able to work with our transport partners and use technology such as CCTV to ensure buses continue to provide safe and connecting services for our communities across Sheffield.”
Aldrisge’s sentence also included punishment for an attempted robbery when he and another teen used a spade to try to prise open a door of a home on Greenhill Avenue, Meadowhead, on Sunday, March 1.
In addition, he was sentenced for his role in a ‘desperately serious’ burglary at a home on Vicarage Lane, Dore, on Friday, October 24.
Aldridge and 18-year-old Sidney Birara, who is to be sentenced at a later date, entered the house at 2.30am while a couple were asleep upstairs.
Mr Thyne said: “They were awoken by an intruder. Birara was carrying a torch and some sort of blade or knife.
“He was aggressive and shouted ‘where’s the gold, where’s the jewellery’.
“Only a passport seems to have been taken. They heard a second voice downstairs shouting ‘come on,’ which was Aldridge.
“The female victim found the incident shocking and thought she wouldn’t sleep for a while.”
Waby admitted attempted burglary, robbery, and attempted robbery, while Aldridge admitted burglary, attempted burglary, robbery, possession of an offensive weapon, attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.