South Yorkshire debt collector’s handgun drama

A South Yorkshire man who barged into a house to collect a debt found himself out of his depth when his partner pulled a gun, a court has heard.

Thursday, 10th December 2020, 3:00 pm

Ricky Hobson entered the house without knocking on October 27, 2019, with another man who invited him along, prosecutor Caroline Bray said.

When his accomplice produced the imitation firearm, he said: "Put it away. There's no need for that."

Hobson was "clearly trying to defuse the situation" and the family fled, calling the police. When they returned, they found two dogs and an angle grinder had been taken, but the dogs were brought back the next day.

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Hobson was identified through a fingerprint, but analysis of his phone revealed he was only involved in the scheme on that day.

Nottingham Crown Court heard on Thursday that he has previous convictions, including the burglary of a garage, in 2007, and a pub, in 2012.

Richard Adams, mitigating, said Hobson has been in custody since his arrest on October 30, last year, and had now served the equivalent of a 22-month sentence.

"He had been working as a block paver for two years. He broke his leg in a motorbike accident and began drinking and taking cocaine.

"He simply thought he was pottering along to collect a debt."

Hobson made "a passionate and demonstrative rebuttal" when the gun was produced, Mr Adams said, adding: " At some stage he was threatened for his intervention.

“An unfortunate incident on his part, and a lesson to be learned about not getting involved in other peoples' business.”

Hobson, 27, of Brampton Meadows, Thurcroft, Rotherham, pleaded guilty to dwelling-house burglary.

Judge Steven Coupland told him: "You found yourself completely over your head. You were in difficult financial circumstances at the time.

"Your reaction was forceful and instinctive. The threats and the more serious part of this offence weren't down to you. You were involved in taking items, but you made efforts to get that property back.”

The judge said Hobson had worked hard in prison and gained enhanced prisoner status. He handed Hobson 22 months in prison, which will allow his release today. His co-defendant will be sentenced at a later date.

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