Armed robbers who threatened restaurant staff are given prison sentences
TWO men involved in an armed robbery at a Clifton restaurant have been jailed for a total of 11 years.
Paulo Mastro and Mamasses Sousa burst into Zizzi, on Princess Victoria Street, with another man. Terrified staff were threatened with a pistol and knife before being forced to hand over £3,197 from the safe.
The raiders fled but police tracked the two men down through DNA and CCTV evidence.
Mastro, 25, of West Street, Old Market, and Sousa, 20, of Ferndene, Bradley Stoke, pleaded guilty to robbery, possession of an imitation firearm and possession of an offensive weapon in the incident in February.
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The third robber remains at large.
At Bristol Crown Court yesterday Judge Michael Longman handed Mastro a six-year jail term and sentenced Sousa to five years.
He told the robbers: "The staff must have feared for their safety, if not their lives."
Kenneth Bell, prosecuting, said two managers and three chefs were closing up and cleaning when there was a "quiet knock" at the back door.
When the door was opened, three balaclava-clad men stormed in.
One raider placed a pistol into a chef's back and screamed: "Where's the safe, where's the safe?"
The court heard Mastro – who had previously worked at Zizzi – had a knife and grabbed a manager around her neck before the men continued their demands for the safe.
The robbers were able to get into the safe and take cash but one staff member was able to break free and run across the road to a restaurant for help as the men fled. She was also able to jot down the registration number of the silver VW Golf getaway car the robbers sped away in. Police found the vehicle abandoned in Goldney Avenue, Clifton, and found fingerprints and a petrol receipt from ten days earlier.
Mastro and Sousa were identified from CCTV at the petrol station.
The court heard staff members had been terrified by their ordeal and that the trauma had stayed with them.
The judge commended them for their bravery, and awarded manager Karolina Idasiak £150 from public funds.
Stephen Mooney, defending Mastro, said he was the father of a two-year-old girl, had dual Italian/ Brazilian nationality and had been in the UK for four years. He said someone had threatened Mastro before he agreed to take part.
Mr Mooney said Mastro apologised for "the effect on those who suffered at his hands".
Timothy Rose, defending Sousa, said his client was not a prime mover in the case.
Mr Rose said: "When not involved in this kind of scheme he's an incredibly pleasant young man.
"He thought he was going to be the driver. He accepts that he had been spoken to and harangued for a period of time about getting involved in some sort of robbery."