A MAN with a minimal criminal record was jailed for two-and-a-half years after a knifepoint shop robbery - for just two bottles of cider.

Mark Anthony Garr entered Duncombe Stores, in Ferryhill, County Durham, with his coat hood pulled up, shortly before 6pm on September 24.

But, Durham Crown Court was told when he confronted the owner, he removed the hood, revealing his identity.

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Stephen Duffield, prosecuting, said Garr produced what was believed to be a fishing or kitchen knife as he demanded the cider.

Mr Duffield said the owner feared what may happen as Garr, who he believed he recognised as a previous customer, appeared very drunk.

He eventually left, after several minutes, carrying just the two bottles.

The owner was shaken, but unhurt, having only been pushed during the ordeal.

Garr was identified, but it was several weeks before he was arrested, by which time he had also stolen a bottle of wine from another convenience store, in Ferryhill.

Mr Duffield said: “In due course, on speaking to police, he admitted what happened.”

Garr, 24, of High Street, Ferryhill, admitted robbery, possessing a bladed article in public and theft of the wine.

The court was told he has only one previous conviction, for criminal damage.

Scott Smith, for Garr, said: “As you see from his record, this was completely out of character.

“Fortunately there was no actual physical harm, but he understands the fear that he must have caused.

“He has genuine contrition and is disgusted with himself. He’s taken steps to address his drink problem and now abstains from drinking.”

Jailing him, Judge Neil Clark told Garr: “This was something of a naive offence.

“It was enormous risk placed on the victim for the sake of just two bottles of cider.”

Garr must pay the statutory victim surcharge, while the judge also ordered destruction of the knife.