Burgess Hill robber who threatened shop workers with a knife sentenced to more than three years in prison

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A robber who threatened shop workers with a knife during a series of incidents in Burgess Hill has been jailed, Sussex Police have said.

Police said David Tree entered Co-op stores in the town in June and July 2022, wearing a mask or balaclava before demanding money from staff.

Police said Tree’s vehicle was traced by officers from the Specialist Enforcement Unit and he was arrested.

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Police said Tree was then charged following an investigation by Crawley CID officers.

Sussex Police said David Tree entered Co-op stores in Burgess Hill in June and July 2022, wearing a mask or balaclava before demanding money from staffSussex Police said David Tree entered Co-op stores in Burgess Hill in June and July 2022, wearing a mask or balaclava before demanding money from staff
Sussex Police said David Tree entered Co-op stores in Burgess Hill in June and July 2022, wearing a mask or balaclava before demanding money from staff

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: “At Lewes Crown Court on June 6 this year, he appeared for sentencing after he admitted two counts of robbery, one count of attempted robbery, three counts of possessing a bladed article, and one count of going equipped for theft. Tree, 31, of Golden Hill, Burgess Hill, was sentenced to a total of three years and nine months in prison for the offences.

“The court was told how the first offence took place at a Co-op store in Terracotta Lane on June 19, 2022. A staff member reported a masked man entering the store to demand money from the safe just before the store was due to close.

“On July 12 Tree returned to the same store and left with cash via a fire exit after making further threats with a knife. Then on July 16 he targeted a Co-op store in Junction Road while wearing a balaclava as the store was due to open. He displayed a knife but left the scene when he was not able to gain access to the store. Then on July 25 he returned to the store again and was seen with the knife by staff.”

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Police said that once again Tree was not able to enter the store, and was seen leaving the area in a vehicle that was then traced by SEU officers.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Garman said: “David Tree carried out a short series of robberies and attempted robberies on Co-op stores in Burgess Hill. It caused a great deal of concern to staff members and to the wider community, so we were determined to catch him. Our Specialist Enforcement Unit officers traced his vehicle and were able to make the arrest. Following our investigation, Tree had no choice but to plead guilty when confronted with all the evidence.”