Hartlepool man brandished needle in terrifying attempted robbery at convenience store

A man has admitted trying to rob a Hartlepool convenience store while brandishing a needle at a frightened female shop assistant.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 10:31 am
The Premier Store in Cornwall Street

Andrew Tobin, 38, demanded ‘I want money from the till’ after walking into the Premier Store in Cornwall Street at around 6.30am on Monday, August 19.

The woman shop assistant was alone at the time.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court: “The defendant walked up to the till and said ‘I want money’.”At first the assistant thought he wanted to withdraw money from the Post Office and told him it did not open until later.

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Ms Masters added: “He said ‘no, I want money from the till’.

“She noticed at this stage he was holding a needle in his left hand and it kept moving.

“She perceived him as threatening her with it. She told him he couldn’t have the cash and stepped away from the till as she was fearful.”

The assistant grabbed her mobile phone from under the counter and told Tobin the police were on the way.

At that point, another customer entered and the assistant shouted for help.

Tobin left empty-handed.

Just half an hour later, he stole £75 worth of groceries from a nearby One Stop Shop.

He was arrested after being identified by shop CCTV but at first denied it was him who tried to rob the Premier Store.

Tobin pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of an article with a blade or point in public.

He previously pleaded guilty in the magistrates court to five counts of theft between July 15 and August 19, when he stole hundreds of pounds worth of groceries from different shops in Hartlepool.

The court heard Tobin has 37 previous convictions including theft, dwelling burglary and possession of a blade.

He has previously served prison sentences.

Judge Howard Crowson adjourned sentencing until October 9 to learn what the effect of the attempted robbery had on the shop worker.

Judge Crowson said: “It makes quite a big difference to the way I approach the sentence.”

Tobin, of Wynyard Road, Hartlepool, was remanded in custody.