A masked armed robber left a shop worker fearing for her life when he pointed a pistol in her face and ordered her to ‘open the f****** till’.
Andrew Vaughan was wearing a mask with his hood up when he calmly walked into a One Stop Shop and threatened staff with the weapon.
Teesside Crown Court heard how the 29-year-old had smashed his way into his father’s locked bedroom to steal the air weapon and carry out the robbery of the shop in Eaglescliffe on June 17 this year.
Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the defendant forced the shop worker to empty two tills before walking out of the shop and she was able to activate the alarm.
She said: “He has walked into the shop completely disguised with his hood up and mask on. The shop worker was suspicious, she thought he was a shoplifter so she followed him.
“The defendant then comes to the tills where he is armed with the weapon that he had been hiding in his trousers – he demands that she ‘opens the f****** till’ and she does as he asks as that is what they are told to do.”
Miss Atkinson said the defendant grabbed £320 in cash and £47.94 in postage stamps before walking from behind the counter and waving the gun at another member of staff to get her out of the way.
The court heard how Vaughan’s movements were retraced using CCTV footage and he was arrested at his then-home where officers found the door of his father’s room had been kicked through.
In a victim impact statement, the shop worker said it was the third time she had experienced a robbery while working at there and when Vaughan pointed the pistol in her face it left her feeling terrified.
Vaughan, now of Shaftesbury Street, Stockton, pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.
Tom Bennett, in mitigation, said his client fully accepted his behaviour and wanted to apologise for the distress he had caused the two women shop workers.
The court heard how the 29-year-old turned to robbery after racking up a drug debt to feed his cocaine habit.
Recorder Mark McKone KC jailed Vaughan for four years and ten months.
He said: “You pointed the gun at the woman’s face and told her to open the ‘f****** till’. The woman described being blinded by fear and is thinking about resigning from her job.