Quick-thinking hotel staff lock thief in office and wait for police – Gloucestershire News Service

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A 35-year-old man who attempted to rob a £200 Gloucester hotel claiming he had a gun on him was locked in a room by responsive staff and detained until police arrived , a court heard yesterday (May 9).

Ricky Sullivan, 35, from Horton Road, Gloucester, walked into the Travel Lodge on St Ann Way in the town in the early hours of November 24 last year and spoke to a receptionist who asked if he could help, said Gloucester Crown Court.

Prosecutor Alec Small said Sullivan responded by ordering the receptionist, Romeo Ndukiri, to put £200 in his bag. Sullivan indicated that he had a gun in his right pocket.

Magda Popaduik, the hotel manager, came out to see what was going on and suggested they all should go to the office to collect the money, the prosecutor said.

However, once Sullivan entered the office, staff members quickly locked the door behind him and called the police.

The court saw CCTV footage showing Sullivan initially waiting patiently, believing staff had left to pick up the money. But then he realized he was locked in the room and started banging on the door screaming to be let out.

He then looked around to see if he could steal anything and was seen placing a number of TV remotes in his bag.

The incident was compared by a viewer in court to an episode of The Simpsons which deserved to be included in an episode of ‘Britain’s Funniest Crimes’.

During his interview with police, Sullivan denied threatening staff members or having a gun or any other type of weapon.

Mr Small told the court that Sullivan was also to be sentenced for an offense dating back to December 28, 2019 in Weston-Super-Mare when police suspected a group of known drug users hanging out outside the Sovereign shopping centre.

“Sullivan then drove past the mall and was stopped by the police. He was searched and it was discovered that he had a small amount of drugs on him. His home was also searched and a total of 49 packages of drugs worth £1,000 were found containing both cocaine and heroin.

“His phone was also checked which confirmed he was on salary from a drug dealer known as Yankee.”

Nadeem Aullybocus defending Sullivan said: “Sullivan had a significant 10-year gap in his fault but fell on the straight and narrow in 2019 after things in his life went wrong.

“At the age of six he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and when the family moved to London his mother developed a drug addiction and he was placed in care.

“He later moved back to Gloucester hoping to get away from the drug scene. However, he started mingling with the wrong crowd and got into trouble.

“He is considered a vulnerable and potentially corruptible person, but when he was arrested he did not tell the police. The information came from the hospital where he was treated for stab wounds.

“He owed his dealers a debt for his cannabis habit and he thought being a runner would reduce his debt.

“While he was in prison, Sullivan learned a number of trades to improve himself.”

Sullivan pleaded guilty to the theft of Mr Ndukiri and Ms Popaduik from the Travel Lodge in Gloucester on November 24, 2021 and the theft of TV remotes of unknown value. Sullivan also admitted to possessing a quantity of Class A drug cocaine and heroin, on December 28, 2019, with the intention of supplying another.

The judge, Recorder Sarah Regan, told Sullivan: ‘You have an unenviable record of offences. Over time, it got worse. I accept that you feel pressured for these latest infractions.

“I am satisfied that the two members of staff at the Travel Lodge were petrified by your actions and when you repeatedly knocked on the door to ask to leave.

“They didn’t respond to your requests because they thought you had a weapon. Fortunately, the police arrived very quickly and arrested you.

“I understand that the drug case is old and that the delay in bringing it to court is not your fault. It is accepted that you were exploited in the supply of drugs. However, only a custodial sentence may be justified for this offence.”

Sullivan was sentenced to a total of 28.5 months in prison. The judge ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs, along with the forfeiture of £106 as proceeds of crime and the payment of a victim surcharge.

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