Sunderland shopkeeper got robber in headlock after thief tried Doritos trick at till

These are the shocking moments a raider snatched cash from tills while buying crisps from Spar shops as brave store workers tried to fight him off.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 5:19 pm

Gordon Head acted like a regular customer when he handed over cash for the snacks, but then used the opportunity to grab money when the till draws were opened.

Newcastle Crown Court heard despite the bravery of the workers who tried to stop the 58-year-old, he got away with a total of over £400 from the two stores that he targeted.

One worker was punched by Head.

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CCTV footage from the scene.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court Head had gone into the Spar at Chester Road, Sunderland, on February 6 last year and handed over cash to pay for crisps he had picked up.

Mr Pallister said: "She opened the till and at that point he reached over, very quickly with both hands and put both hands inside the till, grabbing handfulls of money, mainly notes.

"She tried to close the till numerous times to stop him taking the money.

"The defendant was saying 'you're jamming my fingers, you're jamming my fingers'."

Gordon Head

The court heard the shopworker was left "shaking, sick and dizzy" after Head left, with £340.

It was just three days later Head went to the Spar at Ewesley Road, Sunderland, and used the same crisp scam.

Mr Pallister said: "He walked towards the till carrying a bag of Dorito crisps.

"He gave the bag to the shop worker, who scanned it in the till and the defendant handed over a £1 coin as payment.

CCTV footage from the scene.

"The crisps were handed back to the defendant."

The court heard as soon as the till was opened, Head reached in for the cash.

The shop worker said: "Without thinking, I reached out to stop him and grabbed hold of him in a headlock.

"As I did this, the male swung his fist and punched me in the head, behind my left ear."

The court heard Head managed to grab £85 before he left the shop.

Both of the shop staff said they were left wary of going back to work after they were targeted.

Head, of South Terrace, Southwick, Sunderland, admitted theft and robbery.

Mr Recorder Abdul Iqbal sentenced him to 27 months behind bars.

The judge told him: "The two people were working alone in shops, providing a public service when they were the subject of targeted offending such as this.

"They deserve protection from the courts and will receive protection from the courts."

Tony Cornberg, defending, said Head was drinking heavily at the time but has now been through detox after a hospital stay.

Mr Cornberg said Head is a "completely different person" now and had committed the offences to buy alcohol.

PC David Gibson, of Northumbria Police, said: “I am pleased that the severity of Head’s crimes have been reflected in this custodial sentence.

“There is absolutely no place for this type of criminality in our communities and his actions caused a significant amount of shock and distress for those working in the shops.

“We will not tolerate such behaviour and Head should quite frankly be ashamed of his selfish actions."

He added: “I would like to thank the victims in this case for their cooperation, and sincerely hope seeing the person responsible put behind bars offers them some comfort.

“We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure thieves are caught, convicted and taken off our streets.”

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