Jail for teenage raiders who threatened Co-op staff with axe and gun

By Marion Brennan | Tipton | Crime | Published:

Two teenagers brandishing a gun and an axe threatened a terrified shop assistant before escaping with cash, cigarettes and alcohol, a court heard.

The Co-op in Upper Church Lane, Tipton

The pair, both 16 at the time, have now been locked up for the ‘well-planned, well-oiled’ robbery at the Co-op in Tipton last March.

A third youth, who carried a knife, is still at large.

The gang jumped onto the counter at the Upper Church Lane branch and ordered the lone assistant to open tills.

One of them pointed the imitation gun in the face of the employee, who held open a carrier bag – used to deposit the cash – for the robbers.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how they targeted the shop because it was staffed by just one sales assistant and selected a time when it was not busy.

They also went with a change of clothing and covered their faces, said Mr Walter Bealby, prosecuting.

But the two defendants, who cannot be named because of their ages, were arrested just five days later after one was spotted outside their former school with a knife identical to that used in the the raid.

Clothing found dumped near the Co-op contained DNA, which also incriminated them, the court heard.


The axe was recovered but as the gun was not found, sentencing took place on the basis it was an imitation firearm.

Judge Amjad Nawaz told the pair: “Anyone confronted with that could not, would not have known it was anything other than a real gun.

"The fear it must instilled is unthinkable. No wonder he co-operated, even holding open the carrier bag for them.”

CCTV footage showed the gang entering the shop just after 8.30pm on March 23 while shoppers were in the store.


One, wielding an axe, stood on the counter emptying notes from two tills into the bag, while the others helped themselves to alcohol and cigarettes, one brandishing a large combat knife with distinctive holes in the blade near the handle.

At least £300 cash was taken in the raid.

The court heard that both defendants were of previous good character and had written letters of apology.

The older of the two, who was said to have had learning difficulties, owned up to the offences straight away while his partner initially denied involvement.

The pair, from West Bromwich, pleaded guilty to robbery.

The younger of the two, who also admitted possessing an offensive weapon, was sentenced to 41 months in a youth offender institution.

His accomplice, who also admitted possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear, was sentenced to 32 months detention.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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