A BRAVE shopworker rugby-tackled a raider during an armed robbery at her Sunderland store, a court heard today.
Ian Wilson, 46, and Thomas Brown, 25, distracted one female worker at the Premier Store in Ethel Terrace, Sunderland, with a request, then rushed behind the counter to a cupboard they knew contained cash.
Both these women were very considerably shaken, as they would be, by this incident.Judge John Milford
When her colleague realised what was happening, she left the part of the store where she had been working so she could tackle the attackers.
Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite told Newcastle Crown Court: “She bravely went over and essentially rugby-tackled Wilson to the ground in order to help her colleague.”
After her intervention, the worker was warned by Brown: “If you don’t let him go, I will stab you”.
Wilson had been carrying a screwdriver during the raid, which he said was to get access to the cupboard.
The weapon was dropped and left at the scene.
The court heard despite the effort to stop the robbery on December 21 last year, the men made off with more than £1,000 and a slab of lager.
The pair had been in the shop earlier that day and returned a few hours later wearing hoods to cover their faces and different clothes.
Both visits were captured on CCTV, which was played at the court hearing.
Wilson, of Elms West, Ashbrooke, and Brown, of Dinsdale Street South, Ryhope, both Sunderland, admitted robbery.
Judge John Miilford QC jailed Brown for four years and eight months with an extended licence period of two years four months.
Wilson was jailed for four years and eight months.
Both men have previous convictions.
The judge said Brown posed a danger to the public because of his past, which included threatening to stab a female restaurant worker with a needle.
Judge Milford told the men: “Your target was a substantial sum of cash which you knew to be behind the counter, countained within a cupboard.
“You were armed with a screwdriver in your possession, Wilson.
“The worker, demonstrating considerable courage, wrestled you Wilson, to the ground. It was you who had the screwdriver.
“Notwithstanding her significant intervention, you managed to escape with the money and a slab of beer, and were arrested later on.
“Both these women were very considerably shaken, as they would be, by this incident.”
Alec Burns, defending Brown, said: “He would like, through me, to apologise to the staff for his behaviour.”
Charles Carr, defending, Wilson, said: “He was aware money was kept behind the counter in the cabinet and accepts that is why he took the screwdriver with him, it was not to harm anyone.
“He is extremely sorry for the hurt he has caused.”