Bogus policeman robber Benjamin Baker jailed for four years
BENJAMIN Baker has been jailed for more than four years after posing as a policeman to intimidate two teenagers.
Burly 6ft 3in Baker, 24, spotted the two youths smoking cannabis in the centre of Lydney, at midnight and told them he was a police officer.
He put the younger of the youths, aged 17, in a stranglehold and sent his friend to a cashpoint to withdraw his last £20.
After pocketing the cash, he marched the 17-year-old to his flat and held him captive there for a couple of hours – making terrifying threats to hack off one of his fingers with a saw and a Stanley knife, Gloucester Crown Court heard.
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Baker, of High Street, Lydney, had sent the older boy away, telling him to raise a £1,000 ransom by 6am the next morning or his friend would die.
Baker pleaded guilty to impersonating a police officer, falsely imprisoning the 17-year-old, and robbing him of £20, all on May 9.
Earlier this week he denied robbery, kidnapping and blackmail.
But after talks between prosecution and defence on the third day of his trial, he pleaded guilty to one charge of robbery and a new charge of false imprisonment.
He also admitted impersonation of a policeman.
The jury formally found him not guilty of kidnap, blackmail, and the original robbery charges.
Jailing him for a total of four years nine months, Judge William Hart said Baker used his "force of personality" to intimidate two vulnerable teens.
"Having robbed the younger boy you escorted him to your flat, to use a neutral word," Judge Hart said,
"You did that by a combination of the deception you had already practiced on him, by your force of personality, by his uncertainty and by holding on to his arm.
"He was detained for a couple of hours and was undoubtedly threatened by you making reference to your Stanley knife and saw.
"Your intention was to obtain some financial benefit prior to his release.
"But it was a scheme highly unlikely to have come to fruition. I classify these offences as a form of aggravated bullying.
"It was carried out by someone with an unusual personality, prepared to take advantage of the weakness of others
"I suspect you got into this escapade much more deeply than you had anticipated. You were carried away by your early success and their compliance and you didn't know when to stop."
Darren Whitehead, defending, said Baker was "a young child trapped in a man's body" and described the offences as "rather bizarre".