See the moment an armed robber burst into a convenience store with a 12-inch knife and demanded cash

An armed robber is behind bars after a member of the public tracked down and detained him after a terrifying shop raid.

Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 4:42 pm

Michael Knowles had brandished a 12-inch blade towards a worker and snatched the till from behind the convenience store counter before making off on foot.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when a neighbour realised what happened he got into his car, searched for the 37-year-old and detained him until the police got there.

Knowles, of Abbotside Close, Chester-le-Street, who has previous convictions which include and offence of attempted shop robbery, admitted robbery and having a bladed article and has been jailed for four years.

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Michael Knowles brandished a 12-inch blade towards a worker and snatched the till from behind the convenience store counter before making off on foot.

Judge Edward Bindloss said the neighbour deserves commendation from the court for his public service in following and detaining the offender.

Judge Bindloss added: "Small, community shops that open, often for long, unsociable hours, often with lone workers in them serving the community need the support of the courts."

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court Knowles had gone into Sophie's store in Birtley, Gateshead, at around 9am on May 25 and demanded money from the lone worker.

Mr Wardlaw said: "He held the knife close to the complainant, who felt the need to retreat to a safe distance."

Armed robber Michael Knowles has been jailed for four years

The court heard Knowles reached over the counter and took the till, which contained around £300 and left.

Mr Wardlaw said the worker spoke to someone who lived nearby in the immediate aftermath and added: "The neighbour got into his car to pursue the offender.

"Using his local knowledge he anticipated the route likely to be taken so was waiting for the defendant when he climbed over a fence from an old people's home he had cut through."

The court heard Knowles, who appeared intoxicated but did not smell of alcohol, lay down until the police arrived at the scene.

Michael Knowles had brandished a 12-inch blade towards a worker and snatched the till from behind the convenience store counter before making off on foot.

The till, still containing the cash, was returned to the shop.

Rachel Hedworth, defending, said Knowles comes from a good and supportive family and was earning up to £200 per night at his job as a food delivery driver.

Miss Hedworth said Knowles had "foolishly" taken Xanax tablets mixed and alcohol before the shop raid and added: "The effect of the cocktail of substances and alcohol was such he has no recollection.

"All he knows about the shop is he has only on occasions visited the shop and found the owner an extremely pleasant individual.

"He has no idea whatsoever why he went into the shop, he has no recollection of what happened even."

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