A gang of masked men left a Northamptonshire shop assistant in abject terror after shattering safety glass with crowbars.
The man was getting ready to leave the Shell garage in Cottingham Road, Corby and was talking to his wife and daughter when the three men burst in, Northampton Crown Court heard.
Two of them were carrying crowbars and rushed at the counter, which was protected with safety glass.
Judge Adrienne Lucking said: “The victim said he felt ‘abject terror’ and was afraid for his partner and daughter.
“I have seen the CCTV and it is clear to see he was very frightened.
“It was frankly terrifying.”
The man shouted for his wife and daughter to get out of the shop and, once he saw they had safely left, fled into the staff room and locked himself in, calling 999 from inside.
Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday that two of the robbers continued to hit the glass until it shattered then they rounded the counter and forced open both tills. However most of the money had already been deposited and the men got away with only £36.
Police arrived and officers quickly tracked the men to a parked taxi in nearby Bingham Walk.
When the officers approached, two men fled from the vehicle but a third, father-of-one Shay Bradshaw, aged 22, was found in the back, sweating as if he had been running and holding a balaclava.
He was arrested and gave a no comment interview, but at a subsequent court hearing pleaded guilty to robbery and possessing an offensive weapon.
At a sentencing hearing yesterday, Bradshaw’s solicitor handed a written note to the judge explaining that the defendant had acted out of desperation because his parents had been threatened by cocaine dealers who he owed up to £7,000. He concocted the crime along with others in a similar situation to amass the owed money.
Despite Bradshaw being in custody since the robbery - which happened on October 7 last year - a brick had recently been put through the window of his car parked outside his parents’ house with a threatening note attached.
Judge Lucking said she had read the note in full but said it offered only limited mitigation.
Given that the robbery was planned, at night, involved weapons and carried out by a gang, Judge Lucking said there were many aggravating features.
She jailed Bradshaw for a total of four years.
The sentence was divided into four years for robbery plus concurrent sentences of 16 months for possessing an offensive weapon and four weeks for breach of a suspended sentence relating to an assault in Corby town centre in 2014, during which he punched a woman.
NOTE: A previous version of this article stated that the wife and daughter were prevented from leaving. In fact they were allowed to leave immediately and the victim waited until he saw they were safe before locking himself in a room.