Man jailed for 'cack-handed' bid to rob Plymouth phone shop
A MAN who tried to hold up a mobile phone shop has been jailed for a year for his "cack-handed" attempt at robbery.
Lee Baxter, aged 40, threatened a store assistant with a hidden object in his pocket but the man just laughed at him, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
Recorder Ben Compton, who heard Baxter had mental health difficulties, described the attempt as "completely cack-handed".
But he added that another person could have been left distressed and sentenced him to a year in prison.
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Baxter, of Highland Terrace, Cullompton, admitted attempted robbery on May 24.
Julia Cox, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Baxter entered the Go mobile phone shop in New George Street that day to take out a contract on a handset. But he failed a credit test. She added Baxter returned to the shop later where he was recognised and was told the store was closing.
But Miss Cox said he demanded the money from the till and the phones on display "or someone would get hurt".
She added Baxter appeared to have a solid object in his pocket which he pointed at the man. But Miss Cox said: "The assistant, Mr Baker, thought it was joke and said: 'You are having a laugh'." She added Baxter pretended he had two other accomplices in the store, but this was a bluff.
Baxter left the store empty-handed. Victoria Hoyle, for Baxter, said: "He cannot explain why he committed the offence. It may have been a cry for help." She added he had mental health problems and had suffered depression since the death of his son aged four in 2001. Miss Hoyle added he had attempted suicide. Miss Hoyle said: "He is absolutely mortified he had committed this offence."
Recorder Compton said he had a "particularly tragic life".
But he added the minimum sentence he could pass was of 12 months in jail.