A TERRIFIED shopkeeper feared he would die when he was confronted by two masked robbers armed with a 2ft-long machete.
Sri Lankan-born Radh Mahnd was frogmarched behind the counter by robbers Wayne Rogan, 29, and Callum Horsley, 22, and forced to open the till.
Rogan was carrying a vicious looking 2ft machete with a serrated edge and wore orange overalls with the hood pulled right up.
Accomplice Horsley, was dressed in Army camouflage and had a gas mask covering his face.
They were jailed for a total of eight and a half years for the robbery of Aras Convenience Store, Northgate, Headland, on May 27.
Prosecutor Harry Hadfield told how Mr Mahnd, who was working alone, was lured outside by the pair by banging on the shop window at 10am.
Mr Hadfield said: “He was then frogmarched back inside the store and dragged behind the serving counter by both defendants.
“Rogan was carrying a 2ft-long machete with a serrated edge.
“Mr Mahnd said he feared for his life as it was ongoing. He said ‘after this scary incident I was affected mentally’.”
CCTV of the incident showed Rogan take around £300 from the till while Horsley filled a bag with hundreds of pounds worth of cigarettes and spirits from shelves.
Police traced them to Horsley’s home in Clavering Road through a taxi the pair used that night.
They both tried to get away and Rogan was found hiding in a neighbour’s shed.
The bag which still contained a large amount of the stolen cigarettes and alcohol was found in Horsley’s bedroom.
They both previously pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an offensive weapon on May 27.
Rogan, of Heortnesse Road, Hartlepool, who has previous convictions for robbery, was jailed for four and a half years.
Jim Withyman, mitigating, said he had been pressurised by a man he met in prison who was demanding cash.
“Foolishly while under the influence of drink and drugs he hatched this plan,” said Mr Withyman.
“He greatly regrets it and sends his apologies to the victim who he knows.”
Horsley, of Ibbetson Street, Hartlepool, was sentenced to four years.
Richard Herrmann, mitigating for Horsley, said he will miss seeing his young daughter grow up but there was hope he could change.
Judge Tony Briggs said: “This was a particularly unpleasant robbery.
“It’s perfectly plain from the CCTV recording that the frightened member of staff must have been absolutely terrified by the sight of two people, one of whom was very tall and one powerfully built.
“It is this type of behaviour that no community can tolerate.
“Shopkeepers who operate a public service for others, particularly at night, deserve the protection of the court.”