A thief encouraged accomplice to 'knock out' staff at Asda store in Sunderland during 'terrifying' raid
A thief encouraged an accomplice to "knock out" supermarket staff and "take what he wants" during a terrifying raid in a busy store which was packed with customers.
Carl Minto, who has previous convictions for robbery and serious violence, had gone into Asda in Grangetown, Sunderland, in the middle of the day with an accomplice and helped himself to a box containing six bottles of wine.
Newcastle Crown Court heard as the 27-year-old left with the stolen alcohol, he told his pal, who hit one of the shop workers with a bottle, he should "knock them out and you can take what you want".
Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court: "Staff say it was clear that Mr Minto was encouraging him to use violence and they indicate the other man's behaviour deteriorated even further once he had back-up and appeared emboldened by him."
The court heard even after Minto left he shop, his accomplice, who had smashed bottles during another violent stand-off with staff earlier that day, continued to be aggressive towards the staff and filled a trolley with alcohol to steal.
Miss Dowling added: "It lasted about eight minutes and the staff were frightened."
One worker said in a victim statement: "I feel extremely apprehensive about coming to work to face this level of violence.
"I feel shocked someone would do this in a shop full of customers.
"Staff and customers could have been seriously injured."
Another staff member said: "This has been a scary incident for staff and members of the public.
"Staff have been subjected to similar incidents and they are very scared by the behaviour of some customers. This is unacceptable and courts need to take appropriate action."
Miss Dowling added: "It was in the middle of the day. People were just trying to do their job and just get shopping."
Minto, of Langhurst, Sunderland, who has convictions for 37 previous offences, admitted theft and affray.
His accomplice, who cannot be named, is awaiting sentence.
Judge Robert Spragg sentenced Minto to 14 months behind bars.
The judge told him: "By your words and deeds you encouraged and participated in what took place.
"These were shopkeepers carrying out their duties. You were under the influence of alcohol and valium. It was in a store where there were customers present."
The court heard Minto has made progress while in custody on remand and sent a letter to the court to be read by the judge.
Christopher Knox, defending, said Minto has already served most of the sentence on remand.