A hammer-welding drug addict who terrified a shop assistant during an attack was today behind bars.
Shop owners today spoke of their relief at the verdict as they thanked police for their efforts to apprehend the attacker.
Alan Brookes and an accomplice entered the Londis store in Tipton High Street at around 8.30pm on November 2 last year.
Both men wore balaclavas and terrified the female member of staff behind the till, forcing her to flee into one of the aisles.
Brookes, aged 44, of Princip Street, Aston, Birmingham, then vaulted behind the counter and started hitting the till with the hammer.
He was joined by his accomplice who started loading cigarettes into a bag they had brought with them.
The court was told the pair had been seen by the store’s owner and his nephew over CCTV in a back room and they had come out to confront them.
The owner was carrying an axe, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard at a hearing this week.
Brookes was hit in the face during the melee – but prosecutors said it was not known if he had been struck by the axe or his own hammer.
Both he and his accomplice fled the store pursued by the owner Iyathurai Seevaratham, aged 47, and his 30-year-old nephew Thayaparan Karunakaran who had emerged from the back office to confront the raiders.
Today Mr Seevaratham said: “Situations like this are always very frightening. There was a female member of staff behind the counter at the time and she was terrified.
“It is never pleasant when something like this happens and you just try to act in the best way possible to protect your staff and livelihood.”
He added: “I would like to thank the police for all they have done. They have kept us informed about what was happening every step of the way.” Brookes pleaded guilty to one count of attempted robbery at a hearing this week.
He was jailed for four years and eight months by Judge Nicholas Webb.
Mrs Sati Ruck, prosecuting, said he had been was arrested by officers on December 19. Mr Tarlowchan Dubb, prosecuting, said: “What he did was disgraceful. He has been addicted to Class A drugs since he was 12 years old.
“This was an unsophisticated attempt to steal the money and items he wanted. He even left behind both the hammer and balaclava with his DNA upon it.”
Judge Webb said: “This was a targeted attempt and there was pre-planning. You were detected by the proprietor and his nephew on CCTV and when they emerged you tried to flee.”