A WOMAN who took part in a violent gang street robbery when a gang of yobs attacked a businessman on his way home has been jailed.

Claire Bell was one of four thugs who kicked and punched a man to the ground before rifling through his pockets and stealing his mobile phone, cash and some keys.

The victim heard the 35-year-old shout 'get his mobile phone' while he was being beaten in a car park behind Stockton town centre.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Bell's accomplices had already been jailed for their part in the violent robbery in May 2018.

Joe Hedworth, prosecuting, said: "He was punched to the face and fell to the ground, curled up, and was repeatedly kicked and punched by the group.

"He heard a female voice shout 'get his f***ing phone' and felt people going through his pockets."

He said the injured man was found in a semi-conscious state and was taken to hospital for treatment to his facial injuries.

The court heard how Bell was subsequently identified from CCTV footage in the area.

Mr Hedworth said the defendant was also due to be sentenced for handling stolen goods following a burglary in Stockton in April this year and for shoplifting and possession of a Class B drug.

The judge heard how the three other co-accused where all serving prison sentences in the region of three to four years.

The Northern Echo: Claire BellClaire Bell

Bell, of Norfolk Street, Stockton, pleaded guilty to robbery, handling stolen goods, shoplifting and possession of cannabis.

Paul Abrahams, in mitigation, said his client had taken full advantage of her time in custody and earned a number of certificates as she get herself clean from a longstanding drug addiction.

He said: "She is making progress in custody but she knows she is to receive a lengthy custodial sentence."

Recorder Sam Green QC sentenced Bell to a total of four years and six months.

He said: "The robbery involved some pretty nasty violence on that member of the public, he was set upon violently; he was punched and kicked; and he was seriously injured.

"He suffered injuries to his face which caused him to become very self conscious, lacking in confidence, unable to see customers face to face due to embarrassment and consequential financial problems because of the impact it had on his business."

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