Two jailed after woman assaulted in attempted business robbery

Bertil Baluba of Silvertown and Jeffrey Michael of Rotherhithe were jailed after attempted robbery at a Rochester business

Bertil Baluba of Silvertown and Jeffrey Michael of Rotherhithe were jailed for their roles in an attempted robbery of a Rochester business - Credit: Kent Police

A Silvertown man has been jailed for his role in a failed robbery of a business which saw a woman assaulted in front of children.

Police say Bertil Baluba 20, of Royal Crest Avenue, drove Jeffrey Michael and an unknown associate from London to the premises in Rochester, Kent in August last year.

As Baluba waited in the grey Range Rover, Michael and the other person forced their way into the back office of the business, put the victim in a headlock and demanded money.

They ran away after a colleague came to her assistance.

Baluba and 32-year-old Michael, of Rotherhithe, both later admitted attempted robbery, while the Newham man also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of possession of cocaine with intent to supply.

Baluba was jailed for four years - and Michael for two years and three months - at Maidstone Crown Court on March 24.

Kent Police Det Con Nicola Emery said: "Baluba and Michael have shown themselves to be dangerous offenders who are prepared to use violence against innocent victims.

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"I am pleased that our investigation was able to piece together a trail of compelling evidence which left them with no choice but to plead guilty."

Police say the business in Laker Road was targeted shortly after 4pm on August 31.

Michael and the unidentified person, dressed in dark clothing with their faces concealed, entered a back office where money is counted before it is deposited at a bank.

A female staff member and three young children were in the room at the time.

The victim called for help and as a colleague ran to her aid, he saw the offenders running away.

He chased them towards the waiting car, which sped away once the offenders got in.

Police established that they had travelled to the scene in the Range Rover and that it was being stored in the car park of a flat where Baluba lived.

On-site CCTV showed Baluba and Michael getting in the car prior to the attempted robbery and returning to the same site after it had taken place.

Michael’s blood was also found on a door at the Rochester business while CCTV footage from a petrol station captured Baluba re-fuelling the car on the date of the offence.