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CCTV_robberyA former hotel supervisor and his gay lover who pocketed more than $18,000 in a carefully staged armed robbery have been jailed.

Jamie Eldredge, 22, and Justin Hoadley, 23, had been in an intimate relationship for just two months when they launched the sting at the Lara Hotel in February.

County Court judge Irene Lawson said today the plan had started as a joke but quickly developed into a serious operation.

She said Eldredge, who was a duty manager at the hotel, had gone along with Hoadley because he was fearful of ending the relationship.

But the court heard Hoadley had started the relationship only because of Eldredge’s access to large sums of cash at the hotel.

Hoadley had planned to use any stolen money to fund an addiction to drugs, particularly ice, judge Lawson said.

The couple launched the operation on February 12 as Eldredge and a junior female staff member were preparing to close the pub.

Hoadley entered the hotel and made his way through the bottle shop and entered the male toilets, where he remained.

Eldredge and the female staff member were locking up counting money before Eldredge locked the hotel door and also went to the toilet.

The pair then emerged with Hoadley holding a semi-automatic handgun to Eldredge’s back and demanding cash.

The court heard the young female staff member accessed a safe and handed Hoadley $18,288 because she feared for the safety of her colleague.

Hoadley then fled while Eldredge called 911 and asked for police to attend the premises.

He later made a false statement to police.

Judge Lawson said the incident had had a “devastating effect” on the young female staff member who still required counselling.

The court heard neither men had a criminal history and had good prospects of rehabilitation.

But Judge Lawson said the incident was a “serious example” of armed robbery and had to be punished appropriately.

Hoadley, who pleaded guilty to one charge of armed robbery, was jailed for four years with a non-parole period of two-and-a half years.

Eldredge, who pleaded guilty to one charge each of armed robbery and perjury, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

He must serve at least three years before becoming eligible for parole.

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