Magistrate accused of blackmail and possessing a dangerous weapon

A MAGISTRATE who was once hailed as a have-a-go hero and given a national award was today in custody accused of blackmail, possessing a shotgun and Class A drugs.

Robert Dell, who serves on the bench at Sutton Coldfield Magistrates Court, West Mids, was remanded in custody yesterday.

The 42-year-old, formerly of West Bromwich but now of Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, appeared before magistrates in Walsall, West Mids.

The father-of-two, who runs his own engineering and welding business, is charged with blackmailing David Tarbuck between March 28 and 30 this year.

He is also accused of being in possession of crack cocaine and a shotgun on March 31.

Dell, who appeared in court wearing a long sleeved blue top and dark coloured trousers, spoke only to confirm his name and address.

Defending Dell, Mr David Grice said he had received a police commendation for bravery in the past.

He picked up a national accolade at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Police Public Bravery Awards in 2009 for protecting a lone policeman during a mass street brawl in West Bromwich.

He intervened in a fight between two gangs in the town centre as Pc Steve Lawton, a road policing unit motorcyclist, attempted to stop the violence. Dell told the officer he would offer as much protection as he could.

He was told his actions were “far more than would be expected of a member of the public as his own safety was put at risk and he showed real concern for the officer’s safety and that of the injured party”.

In February 2009, Dell also picked up a Good Citizen Award at the West Midlands Police Authority Awards for the incident.

The case was sent to Wolverhampton Crown Court where he will appear on June 24.

A bail application was refused and Dell was remanded in custody.

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