A violent robber who threatened a taxi driver with a knife before stealing money and driving off in the car has been branded a dangerous offender.

Lee Wood held a knife to the throat of a taxi driver on Ingleton Road in Stockton on December 27, 2022, and threatened to stab him while demanding money from him.

The 28-year-old armed robber was caught on the cab’s CCTV saying ‘Get out the car and there won’t be no problem. I swear down I’ll stab you’.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the driver managed to flee his Skoda leaving behind £370 in cash and the keys in the ignition.

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Wood then made off in the taxi, which was tracked to Stewart Road, where Cleveland Police officers found the vehicle abandoned.

His accomplice Chelsea Wyatt, 25, was in the taxi with Wood at the time of the robbery. She was given a community order after admitting stealing £370 from the car

Paul Abrahams, prosecuting, said Wood was identified from CCTV footage outside his address on Ingleton Road and officers found him ‘hiding down the side of the bed’ at his home and he was arrested.

Wyatt, of Coxgreen Close, Stockton, denied robbery but pleaded guilty to theft of money. Wood, now of HMP Durham, pleaded guilty to robbery.

The judge heard how Wood was jailed for three years after an early-morning raid at the BP garage, on Durham Road, Stockton, in 2020.

The Northern Echo: Lee WoodLee Wood (Image: Cleveland Police)

Andrew Turton, mitigating for Wood, said the defendant was sorry for the upset he caused to the driver and had written a letter to the judge which he read to the court.

While Tom Bennett, on behalf of Wyatt, urged the judge to follow the recommendations in his client’s pre-sentence report.

Judge Howard Crowson sentenced woods to six years and four months in custody with two years on extended licence as he branded him a ‘dangerous offender’.

Wood was also given a nine-month concurrent sentence and disqualified him from driving for two years for dangerous driving.

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The judge also sentenced 24-year-old Wyatt to a 12-month community order with 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days. She must also pay a £114 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Constable Ryan Thompson said: “This was a terrifying ordeal for the victim who was just doing his job. Thankfully the driver wasn’t injured but this has had a lasting impact on him.

“I’m pleased with today’s sentence handed to Lee Wood which means one more dangerous offender is off the streets and serving time in jail.

“I hope this sentence sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour and we will act swiftly to ensure anyone committing such crimes will be dealt with appropriately.”