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Would-be robber jailed after knife raid foiled by brave owner of Horden store
A DESPERATE would-be robber met his match when he tried to hold up a village convenience store at knifepoint.
Carl Russell, 32, said to be under pressure to repay drug dealers and loan sharks, entered Mosci’s, in Horden, County Durham, wearing a balaclava mask and armed with a 6in kitchen knife, on Tuesday August 13, at 2pm.
Durham Crown Court heard that he threw a carrier bag onto the counter and told owner Fiona Birks: “Give me all the money. Fill this up.”
But John Gillette, prosecuting, told the court that the robust proprietor’s response to Russell was: “F**k off”.
Mr Gillette said: “The one customer in the premises also reported hearing her say ‘You’re not having it’.
“And, when that lady emerged from behind an aisle, the defendant, somewhat taken aback, perhaps, left empty-handed.”
Mr Gillette said Mrs Birks had her suspicions as to what was about to happen when she spotted Russell on cctv loitering outside the Sunderland Road premises shortly before the raid, wearing a hoody and with the mask, on what was a sunny summer afternoon.
Despite his efforts to cover his face, Russell was recognised by local police officers examining the cctv footage and was arrested later that day.
Russell, 32, of Blackhills Road, Horden, admitted attempted robbery and possessing a bladed article in public.
The court heard his previous convictions feature several offences of dishonesty, while he was jailed for four years for burglary with intent to rob in 2008.
Jane Waugh, mitigating, told the court: “He was in debt to others, not just for drugs, but also money lenders.
“They were coming back to him for £50 a time and told him he would never be out of debt.
“He was certainly under pressure and they made sure he went through with this that day, albeit it was an unsophisticated attempt.
“It was unpleasant and there was obviously a degree of fear, but, happily, no-one was injured.”
Judge Christopher Prince told Russell: “Fortunately, Fiona Birks is a lady of some fortitude and didn’t mince words dealing with you.
“You made for the door realising you had met your match in this lady.
“She displayed great courage and so you left.”
Imposing a four-year prison sentence, Judge Prince said it would have been a six but for Russell’s ‘guilty’pleas.