Gang jailed after Stoke delivery driver is left clinging to van's windscreen wipers

The three men jailed - Diljot Singh (l), Karanpreet Singh and Simranjit Singh (r) Credit: BPM Media

Three men have been jailed after carrying out a violent attack on a DHL delivery driver in a Stoke-on-Trent cul-de-sac, while he was on his morning rounds.

Diljot Singh aged 22, Karanpreet Singh aged 23, and Simranjit Singh aged 19, wore masks and used baseball bats as they attacked the driver on Bullrushes Close in Etruria, in November 2022.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard the driver tried to run off, but was caught and attacked with the baseball bats.

He also bravely tried to stop the men making off with his Mercedes van, by jumping on the bonnet and holding onto the windscreen wipers.

But the gang escaped with six brand new laptops and some mobile phones. They discarded the rest of the load, abandoning the van.

They were arrested within the hour after being stopped near junction one of the M5.

The gang all pleaded guilty to robbery, and were jailed for a total of just over 16 years.

Diljot Singh jailed for six years, and Karanpreet Singh and Simranjit Singh were jailed for five years and two months.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court Credit: ITV News Central

"Give me everything you have got"

Prosecutor Maria Brannan said the victim loaded his white Mercedes van at the DHL depot in Stafford, on the morning of November 8th. He made five deliveries before arriving at an address in Bullrushes Close at 8.50am.Miss Brannan said:

"The close is a dead end. He got out his van and walked to an address to make the delivery. He saw a black VW Golf drive into the road and reverse towards his van."Two men walked towards the driver. One who had a scarf pulled up to his nose and a baseball bat in his hand said 'Give me everything you have got'."He tried to run away. He jumped over some bins and ran in a bush in a neighbouring house and then back to his van. One of the men followed him and the other went round the side of the bush and swung the bat to the driver's face.

"He managed to duck and run away. As he did so he felt a blow to his head. It knocked him off his feet. It was a big crack. He was in shock. He was left on the ground face down""Things fell out of his pocket. His keys were on a security hook attached to his trousers. Those must have been taken because the next thing he remembers was one of the men starting up the van."He managed to jump up on the bonnet of his van, grabbing hold of the windscreen wipers. One of the men started to hit him with a baseball bat about his legs and torso.

"He was hit three times before falling off the bonnet and on to the floor. The van and the Golf drove off. He rang 999."

The driver suffered a two-inch cut to the back of his head, along with bruising. A CT scan showed there were no fractures to the skull.

In a victim statement the driver said he had not been eating properly since the incident. He is now on edge and paranoid when working in case it happens again. He feels anxious when he sees anyone approach him, and is on a waiting list for counselling.

How the gang were caught within the hour

The court heard the gang's Golf was stopped at 9.45am near junction one of the M5, with all three men inside, along with an eight-inch kitchen knife, two baseball bats, six boxes containing brand new Dell laptops and a pair of cases believed to contain brand new mobile phones, all identified as having come from the van. More inquiries revealed showed the car - which had false plates fitted - had been seen at the Stafford DHL depot at 7.50am, and had followed two other vans before targeting this one.

Paul Cliff, mitigating for Diljot Singh, from Bridge Street South in Smethwick, conceded 'there must have been some planning' but said it was 'stretching things to say it was professionally planned'.Preet-Paul Tutt, representing Simranjit Singh from Avenue Road in Handsworth, said his client got involved to raise money to help fund his mum's treatment in India. Mr Tutt added:

"Foolishly he got involved in this criminality in the hope of making some money and hoping that it may alleviate some of the financial pressures that he was facing at the time. It is something he regrets wholly. He has let his family down."Oliver Lycett, mitigating for Karanpreet Singh from Grasmere Road in Birmingham, said his client was of previous good character. He is remorseful for the offence and the impact it has had on the victim.

Mr Lycett added: "He is close to his family. It has clearly come as a shock to them and devastated them."All three men will serve half their sentences with the rest on licence.