TWO brave shop workers looked down the barrel of a gun – and defied a would-be armed robber.
The pair were praised in court as the raider was jailed for four years and four months for his actions at the Tesco Express on Poulton Road, Fleetwood.
Judge Norman Wright said “There are some redoubtable ladies at Tesco who clearly were not intimidated by what you did and they were able to fob you off.
“This would have been an extremely frightening experience for the two members of staff concerned. There is always the question ‘what if it’s real, what might happen to me?’”
Simon Robson, 32, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to attempted robbery and using an imitation fire arm while committing an offence.
Robson entered the store on September 25 last year.
David Traynor, prosecuting, said a woman working at the tills was tidying up a cigarette display and facing away from the public when she heard a male voice from behind her say “Give me the money. Open your tills”.
She turned to see the man two yards away pointing a gun at her chest, his arm outstretched. The weapon appeared to have a barrel five to six inches long.
He made three or four demands for the tills to be opened but the woman told him: “Are you listening? I can’t give you any money. The tills are locked”.
A second staff member joined her and she was also threatened by Robson who again asked for money.
Finally, the defendant swore, put the weapon in his waistband and walked out.
Police were able to identify him from CCTV footage. A 30-second clip was played in court showing him pointing the gun.
Earlier he had told a friend: “I’m skint. We need to make some money.”
When arrested, Robson told police he had no money and had been desperate for amphetamine.
Waheed Omran-Baber, defending, said: “He accepts full responsibility for his actions. That is best mitigated by his early guilty plea.”
Robson had “a significant mental health problem”.
He had been in hospital three weeks prior to the offence and had now been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and drug induced psychosis.
Mr Omran-Baber added: “There was no attempt to disguise himself. When he knew he wasn’t going to get anything from the staff he left the premises.
“He is sorry for his actions. He is now doing something to deal with his drug problem”.
Det Sgt Andy Hoyle of Fleetwood CID said: “These two women showed courage in standing up to this man. A gun was pointed at them but they did not panic.”
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