Drug addict who threatened Hartlepool shop assistant with bottle in terrifying robbery is jailed

Gary Gollaglee, jailed for three years for robbery of McColl's shop in Hartlepool
Gary Gollaglee, jailed for three years for robbery of McColl's shop in Hartlepool

A DRUG addict has been locked up after he brandished a bottle in the face of a frightened shop assistant and forced her to hand over cash.

Heroin user Gary Gollaglee threatened the scared woman with the weapon and made off with an estimated £700 from McColl’s corner shop in Murray Street, Hartlepool.

McColl's in Murray St, Hartlepool

McColl's in Murray St, Hartlepool

The 29-year-old was jailed for three years at Teesside Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to robbery.

The court heard how the assistant was left badly shaken by the robbery on the afternoon of Sunday, January 19, and feels nervous even in her own home.

Gollaglee, who has a lengthy criminal record, was caught on CCTV hanging around the shop for some time before he burst in when the assistant was on her own.

Colin Harvey, prosecuting, said: “A CCTV camera at the rear of the yard showed he had been thinking about this for some time before he armed himself with an empty bottle he picked up from the yard.

“He was obviously a very intimidating presence when he went into the shop. He brandished the bottle briefly before tucking it under his left arm and helped himself to cash from two tills.”

Gollaglee fled the scene on his bike, which was described as distinctive.

He was later arrested, also in connection with other alleged offences, but none of the stolen money was recovered, apart from £40 that he dropped when he left the scene.

Gollaglee, of Elwick Road, Hartlepool, has 27 previous convictions for a total of 59 offences.

He was given a five-year jail sentence in 2008 for repeatedly stabbing a man in street fight, and also for a burglary.

But after being released in December 2010 he had kept out of trouble.

Ian Mullarkey, mitigating, said: “Sadly for the complainant and the defendant himself, in May 2013 he began mixing with a particular individual who introduced him to heroin which he had not used before.

“Inevitably it led to him needing money.

“He has never done anything like this before. He regrets committing this offence and is sorry for what he put the complainant through.”

The Judge, Recorder William Lowe said: “You armed yourself with a weapon and I’ve read the victim impact statement of the assistant.

“Her confidence has been badly damaged by this. You kept out of trouble between 2010 and 2014 then got yourself involved, stupidly as you no doubt feel now, with drugs.

“Obviously, there has to be a significant custodial sentence in respect of this matter.”