County Durham slot machine bandits are back behind bars for targeting Leeds locals


Two County Durham gambling machine bandits are now back behind bars after targeting locals in Leeds.

Rhys Stobbart, 27, and Kevin Skelton, 30, were jailed in 2020 after carrying out a series of raids in the North East. And in 2019 the duo were also dealt with being part of a conspiracy which saw more than £4,000 stolen from pubs and social clubs across Tyne and Wear, Durham, Yorkshire and Humberside over more than three years.

As part of their 2019 convictions, Stobbart and Skelton were made subject to Criminal Behavior Orders (CBOs). But the couple were brought back before a judge at Durham Crown Court last week after committing similar offenses last year.

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Stobbart was also dealt with for committing an offense at Apollo Bingo Hall, Durham on July 12 last year while serving a suspended sentence for driving offences.

Dr Chris Wood, prosecuting, said Stobbart smashed a slot machine and withdrew £400 in coins. He said Stobbart was also involved in other robberies at Quick Silver and Viaduct Showbar, Leeds, on October 20 and November 2 last year.

Then on December 22, at around 2 p.m., Stobbart, Skelton and a third unknown man entered Walkabout, in Woodhouse Lane, Leeds. Dr Wood said that while their accomplice was distracting the bar staff, Stobbart and Skelton forced open a fruit machine and withdrew cash before leaving.

The three men were later spotted in a white BMW, with Stobbart driving despite being banned from driving.

Dr Wood said Stobbart ran over an officer’s foot during the incident before the car was abandoned. When Stobbart was arrested he was found in possession of a padlock, handles and £85 in coins taken from Walkabout earlier, the court heard.

At a previous hearing, Stobbart, of South View, Craghead, near Stanley, admitted four offenses of theft, dangerous driving, driving with disqualification and assault on a rescue worker, putting him in breach of both the suspended sentence and the OBC.

At the same hearing, Skelton, of Front Street near Chester-le-Street, admitted to the robbery and assaults on emergency workers, as well as the CBO breach. Judge Ray Singh jailed Stobbart for 34 months and sentenced Skelton to a year in prison.

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