A masked armed robber who battered a shopkeeper before throwing a stolen till at a police officer’s head has been locked up.

Matthew Taylor walked into Takhar Stores armed with a knife before forcing his way behind the counter and demanding the woman hand over cash.

The brave shopkeeper refused before the 27-year-old punched her to the face and pushed her forcefully into a pile of boxes on several occasions.

CCTV from inside the Thornaby store showed the defendant terrorising the woman while a colleague is trying force him out of the shop by hitting him with a sweeping brush.

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Taylor held his head in his hands as he watched the shocking footage when he was being sentenced at Teesside Crown Court.

The defendant could be seen ripping the till off the counter before heading out of the shop and running away.

The Northern Echo: Matthew TaylorMatthew Taylor (Image: Cleveland Police)

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said the victim recognised Taylor from his eyes and pursued her attacker through the streets with the help of another customer.

“She thought it was a joke and then she saw the knife,” she said. “He told her ‘give me the money or I will kill you’.”

During the ensuing scuffle the shopkeeper suffered cuts and bruises which required one stitch on her nose.

In a victim personal statement, she said the robbery had left her feeling anxious while working in the shop she had owned for more than 20 years.

She said: “This was a pre-planned, he knew what he was doing and targeted this business because he knew only women were working there.”

The Northern Echo: Takhar Store in ThornabyTakhar Store in Thornaby (Image: Google)

Miss Haigh said the police officer suffered cuts and bruising to his face after being hit in the face by the stolen till.

Taylor, of Peel Street, Thornaby, pleaded guilty to robbery, possessing bladed article in a public place and assault on an emergency worker.

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Kelleigh Lodge, mitigating, said the father-of-two had shown genuine remorse for the robbery and for the injuries he caused to his victims.

She said: “He doesn’t try to minimise his actions; he is genuinely disgusted at himself for the behaviour displayed and genuinely sorry for the injuries and distress caused to his victims in this case.”

Recorder Andrew Latimer sentenced Taylor to a total of five years and six months for all offences.