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Two men sentenced for robbery and firearm offences in Bolton and Wigan
Friday 24th February, 2006

Two men sentenced for robbery and firearm offences in Bolton and Wigan
Kevin Hilton (left) and Stephen Taylor (right).

A 28-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison for a number of robbery and firearms offences in Wigan and Bolton.

Kevin Anthony HILTON (23/07/77) of no fixed abode pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery and three counts of possessing a firearm at Bolton Crown Court on Friday 20 January 2006. He was sentenced at the same court today, Friday 24 February.

A second offender who was involved in a robbery in Bolton has also been sentenced today. Stephen TAYLOR (22/12/1977) of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and one count of possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The offences committed by Hilton include a robbery at St Oswald's Church in Ashton in Makerfield, and a robbery at Ladbrokes bookmakers in Standish. Hilton and Taylor committed a robbery together at AM/PM Newsagents in Darcy Lever, Bolton. In this robbery they stole money from the shop and a 12-year-old boy.

On 27 September 2005 at around 6pm Hilton went to St Oswald's church on Liverpool Road and asked the 69-year-old priest to allow him and another man into the church to view an ancient relic, known as the Holy Hand, and to be blessed. The priest agreed to let Hilton inside. Once inside the priest was threatened with a gun. He was forced to show Hilton where the safe was kept and Hilton then stole around 600 before making off in a white Saab. It is believed a second offender was involved in this incident but he has not been arrested.

The white Saab was subsequently traced to Hilton and was later found abandoned in Merseyside. Hilton's DNA was found in the car.

The following day, Wednesday 28 September 2005, Hilton went into Ladbrokes betting shop on Pole Street in Standish at around 5.40pm. Hilton was armed with a knife and threatened staff and customers inside the shop. He stole 658 before leaving the shop. No one was injured. It is thought there was also another man involved in this incident but he has not been traced.

Shortly before 3pm on Saturday 15 October 2005 Hilton walked into AM/PM Newsagents on Radcliffe Road in Darcy Lever, Bolton. He was armed with a knife and was in the company of Stephen TAYLOR who was armed with a small black handgun.

Hilton was brandishing the knife and walked directly behind the counter and shouted at the 35-year-old woman at the till to open it up. While this was happening Taylor grabbed hold of a 12-year-old boy who was in the shop at the time. Taylor pointed the gun at the shop assistant and kept hold of the boy whilst making threats.

The woman opened the till and Hilton stole the contents. He then demanded more money and continued to threaten the woman. She handed over more cash and Hilton also stole her purse. At this stage Taylor let go of the boy and told him to stand behind the counter. The boy was so afraid he thought he should hand over his money and put 35p into the till tray Hilton was holding. Taylor and Hilton then made their escape on foot leaving the woman's purse behind, minus the cash inside it.

Neither victim was injured but they were both left scared and shaken.

The incident was captured on CCTV and detectives at Bolton CID identified Taylor as one of the offenders.

Taylor was arrested in a car outside Frederick Court in Farnworth on the evening of Sunday 16 October 2005. He made a full admission and told police the gun was a cut down air rifle. He was charged with robbery against the shop assistant, robbery against the child and possessing an imitation firearm. He appeared at Bolton Magistrates Court and was remanded in custody on 18 October 2005. As a result of further enquiries Hilton was identified as the second offender.

In the early hours of Monday 17 October 2005 HILTON was arrested in a room at the Daisy Hill Hotel in Westhoughton. Officers from the armed response unit assisted Bolton CID with the arrest.

Hilton made no comment during interview, and was subsequently charged with the same offences as Taylor. He appeared at Bolton Magistrates Court on Wednesday 19 October and was remanded in custody.

Hilton had been circulated as wanted by police in Wigan. He was produced from prison, arrested and subsequently charged with the two robberies in the Wigan area.

Detective Inspector Paul HITCHEN from Bolton CID said: "Hilton is a dangerous criminal with no respect for society. He is a ruthless and menacing man who petrified innocent victims in all of these robberies.

"During the robbery he committed with Taylor he shamelessly stole 35p from a young lad. The impact of their actions on all the victims is ongoing and I hope the fact these men have been taken off the streets gives innocent people some peace of mind."

Two men sentenced for robbery and firearm offences in Bolton and Wigan
Gun used by Taylor in newsagent robbery.

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