Watch: Axe-wielding pair who held up shop staff are jailed
Two axe-wielding thieves have been jailed after smashing their way into a shop and holding four staff members hostage during an armed robbery.
CCTV footage shows Adam Merkitt, 36, and Andrew Bluck, 37, grab the manager outside the store in St Neots in Cambridgeshire and drag him inside.
The footage, captured shortly after 6am on 9 November 2019, then shows the two men, wearing black balaclavas and armed with an axe, grab another three members of staff within a minute.
All four staff members were rounded into a back office where the manager was forced to open the safe.
A fifth member of staff, who was in a different room at the time they entered, managed to escape and call 999.
Merkitt and Bluck took off in a silver car with around £4,000. They were later tracked down to a hotel in Northampton after a member of the public provided a picture of the vehicle they were travelling in.
In court, it was revealed that just five hours before the robbery, Merkitt and Bluck had smashed their way into another store seven miles away.
They had attempted to steal lottery tickets and the shop till.
Officers investigating both crimes were able to match clothing found in the hotel with CCTV images from the robbery.
They also found receipts which led them to a sports shop the pair visited after the robbery, where they were caught on CCTV wearing the clothing.
The pair were jailed on Wednesday at Peterborough Crown Court.
Merkitt pleaded guilty to robbery, burglary and theft of a motor vehicle, and was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison.
Bluck admitted to burglary and two counts of robbery, and was sentenced to three years and 10 months.
Detective Constable Kellymarie Harman, who investigated, said: "Merkitt and Bluck were so desperate for money that they were willing to go to extreme lengths to get it.
"This was a terrifying ordeal for all of the staff involved and it was lucky that no one was seriously harmed.
"I’d like to thank the staff for their support during the investigation and I hope they find satisfaction in the knowledge that this pair are going to be in prison for a long time."
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