A BRAVE shopkeeper foiled an attempted knifepoint robbery when she threw the robber’s bag back at him.
The woman swore at Carl Russell, who then fled, Durham Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor John Gillette told the court Russell was seen on the shop’s CCTV hanging around outside.
“It was August and he was wearing a hooded top,” added Mr Gillette. “The woman saw him and thought he was up to no good. After waiting for other customers to leave, he approached the counter, produced a bag and told the woman to fill it.
“He produced a kitchen knife from inside his clothing. The woman’s reaction, and the fact there was another customer in one of the aisles, seemed to unnerve him and he fled.”
The court heard police recognised Russell from the CCTV footage and arrested him a few hours later.
Russell, 32, of Blackhills Road, Horden, admitted attempted robbery at Mosci’s store in Sunderland Road, Horden, on August 12.
He has previous convictions for robbery and burglary.
Jane Waugh, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Russell was in debt to drug dealers and a money lender. He was taken to the shop and ordered to rob it, although he accepts he could have refused. He took fright when confronted and no injury was caused, nor was anything taken.”
Judge Christopher Prince, jailing Russell for four years, said: “The shopkeeper showed great fortitude and told you in no uncertain terms she was not standing for it.
“Despite this, she has been left nervous and fearful of some customers, and no longer likes her young son to be with her in the shop.
“You claim pressure over debts, but this was a planned offence.”