'Truly despicable' Hartlepool armed robber caged after service station raid
Two armed robbers have been locked up for a total of 12 years after subjecting a service station cashier to "serious psychological harm" and violent threats.
Masked pair Austin Thompson, from Hartlepool, and Edward Miller are behind bars for eight years and four years respectively.
Durham Crown Court heard how they wore Balaclava masks to carry out the knife raid at Binchester Service Station, near Bishop Auckland, on November 12 last year.
They disconnected the closed circuit television cameras before threatening the female cashier and locking her in a store room.
The pair then left via the security door with money, scratch cards, tobacco and cigarettes.
Thompson, 20, of Arch Court, on the Central Estate, and Miller, 39, of St Andrew's Terrace, Bishop Auckland, were later arrested following an police extensive search.
Both are now behind bars after each admitted robbery and possessing a bladed article.
.Detective Constable Tom Edwards, from Bishop Auckland CID, said after the sentencing: “This was a truly despicable crime.
"The victim was subject to threats of extreme violence and the event will remain with the victim for the rest of her life.
“Both of the offenders are responsible for causing this serious psychological harm and that is something they will have to live with.
“We will explore all lines of inquiry to bring offenders to justice and are committed to protected communities.”
Thompson was also sentenced to an additional one-and-a-half years in custody after admitting committing a similar pair of offences on his own.
He pleaded guilty to robbing a person of their mobile phone and possessing a bladed article in Bishop Auckland last November.