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Burgess Hill Knife-Wielding Robber Sentenced to Prison

David Tree Sentenced to Over Three Years in Prison for Series of Co-op Robberies

A robber who threatened shop workers with a knife during a spate of incidents in Burgess Hill has been jailed.

David Tree entered Co-op stores in the town in June and July 2022, wearing a mask or balaclava before demanding money from staff. His actions left staff shaken after the series of incidents.

Tree’s vehicle was traced by officers from the Specialist Enforcement Unit, leading to his arrest. Following an investigation by Crawley CID officers, Tree was charged.

At Lewes Crown Court on June 6 this year, Tree appeared for sentencing after admitting 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 heard 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 closing time.

On July 12, Tree returned to the same store and left with cash via a fire exit after making further threats with a knife. He then targeted a Co-op store in Junction Road on July 16 while wearing a balaclava as the store was about to open. He displayed a knife but left the scene when he could not gain access to the store. On July 25, Tree returned to the store again and was seen with a knife by staff. Unable to enter the store, Tree left the area in a vehicle which was later traced by SEU officers.

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