A RAIDER who held up a chemist’s with a replica double-barrelled shotgun has been detained indefinitely.
Paranoid schizophrenic Mark Westwood stormed into the Riverview pharmacy in Hendon with the imitation firearm, which left terrified staff fearing they would be shot.
Newcastle Crown Court heard one woman worker was pushed and ordered to get in a cupboard during the raid.
Prosecutor James Adkin said Westwood, of Argyle Square, Sunderland, made no direct threats or demands inside the store, but “intimidated” those inside by waving the weapon around.
Mr Adkin said: “He was carrying a bag and a gun. The gun was used to intimidate the assistants.
“The prosecution case is the bag was there in order for the defendant to carry away drugs or money or both.
“One worker was told to get in the cupboard.
“It might have been the defendant thought this woman was working alone at the counter, because after she was pushed her colleague came from behind the counter and into the foyer.
“The defendant appears then to have lost his nerve and fled empty-handed.”
Westwood was arrested after one of the workers recognised him as someone who had been into the pharmacy to collect medication in the past.
He was picked out at an identity parade the following day.
Westwood claims he bought the fake gun from an Asda store, but prosecutors rejected the idea.
The 41-year-old admitted attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.
The court heard Westwood, who has previous convictions for robbery and possessing weapons including a samurai sword, knife and a shotgun, had not taken his anti-psychotic medication that day.
Judge John Evans ordered that Westwood be detained indefinitely in a psychiatric hospital.
He will only be released when recommended by his doctors and with the authority of the Home Secretary.
The judge told him: “You terrified the staff.
“It is right to observe no direct threats were made to the staff but nonetheless your conduct that day caused them considerable fear.
“Although undoubtedly you suffer from this illness, your conduct is of such a nature that it seems to me there is a real risk to the public of commission of further offences in the future.
“This is the only way I can properly ensure that the public are protected.”