Shopkeeper hailed by judge for bravery after refusing to handover cash to armed raider wearing balaclava

A shopkeeper has been praised for her bravery after she refused to hand over cash to an armed raider who pointed a knife at her chest.

Monday, 1st February 2021, 3:12 pm
Shopkeeper hailed by judge for bravery after refusing to handover cash to armed raider wearing balaclava

An unknown hooded man, wearing a mask and balaclava, stormed into Simars convenience store in Whitburn with a kitchen knife and demanded money.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the victim lied and said all the cash from the shop had been banked and courageously snatched whiskey from him when he tried to steal it.

The raider left empty handed and fled in a getaway car driven by Robbie Loughran.

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Robbie Loughran.

Loughran, 33, admitted robbery and has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

A judge has said the shopkeeper showed "remarkable resilience and bravery".

Prosecutor Michael Bosomworth told the court Loughran's VW Passat was caught on CCTV parked up near the store on the day of the raid in August 2018.

About 50 seconds after the car arrived, a hooded man carrying a large kitchen knife and wearing a balaclava got out of the rear and went into the shop.

Mr Bosomworth said: "The complainant saw the male with his face covered by a balaclava and thought initially someone was playing a joke.

"She then saw he was carrying a large knife and had moved towards the till.

"Very bravely she followed and challenged him.

"He pointed the knife at her chest and demanded 'give me the money'.

"She told him there was no money and it already had been banked, which was a lie."

The court heard the raider tried to get into the till but failed to get it open and so picked up bottles of whiskey.

But Mr Bosomworth added: "Very bravely and remarkably she grabbed a bottle from him, which caused him to drop a number of bottles.

"He then left."

The court head the robber made off with just one bottle of whiskey that he managed to keep hold of and went back to Loughran's car.

The shopkeeper said the raid has left her feeling anxious at work.

Assitant Judge Advocate General Edward Legard sentenced Loughran to four-and-a-half years behind bars.

The judge said the shopkeeper demonstrated "remarkable resilience and bravery" and added: "She pressed the panic alarm and refused to co-operate, said there was no money, which in fact was not true."

The judge told Loughran: "Crimes of this type are rightly considered to be extremely serious, particularly when committed against small, family run businesses.

"These businesses are dedicated to providing much needed service to their local community.

"It is no surprise she has suffered and continues to suffer a very high level of anxiety and distress as a result of being threatened by an unknown balaclavered individual, someone you had taken there in order to commit this violent offence."

Gavin Doig, defending, said Loughran, of Braeside, Gateshead, has lost the sight in one eye due to an injury and has suffered a family tragedy.

Mr Doig added: "The defendant was aware a robbery was to occur, he was aware a robbery was to occur involving a knife.

"His instructions are that he wasn't aware the robbery was to be of a shop. He believed the robbery was to be of a drug dealer.

"He is extremely remorseful for his involvement in this serious offence."

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