Robber aimed a gun at shop staff
A SHOP worker had a realistic imitation handgun pointed at her face from inches away in a terrifying robbery, a court heard.
The woman worker at Costcutters on Mutley Plain feared she was going to be killed, and handed over the contents of the till, around £600.
But robber Alan Levers, right, was caught next day and was yesterday jailed for four years at Plymouth Crown Court.
Levers pleaded guilty to two charges: robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.
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Prosecutor Lee Brembridge said that just before 11.30pm on December 3 last year, two men walked into the convenience store with their coat hoods up.
Levers asked for a beer, and the female assistant recognised both men as people who had previously been banned from the shop.
Levers pulled out a handgun and pointed it at her from point-blank range of about a foot, first at her body and then her face, ordering her to open the till.
Mr Brembridge said: "She was terrified that she would be killed."
The male supervisor then came out, only to have the gun levelled at him.
The till was opened and all the notes it contained – estimated at more than £600 – handed over.
The female assistant then burst into tears.
Levers was identified from the shop CCTV and later at an ID procedure.
He was arrested next day at his home as he was leaving the house carrying the clothes he had worn in the robbery and the gun in pieces in a plastic bag.
He had £235 cash in his wallet.
Mr Brembridge said the assistant had no idea that the gun was not real.
He said Levers, aged 47 and of Seaview Avenue, Lipson, had convictions for burglary and assault going back to 1976, when he was 13.
He was jailed for 42 months in 2006 for burglary.
Nick Lewin, for Levers, said he had been released in November 2008 and was on a reducing methodone prescription.
But he had then replaced heroin with alcohol, and had a significant drink problem.
He was shocked at the impact of his actions on the woman worker, and had written to her and the judge.
In jail, he was again on a reducing methodone prescription, was gaining an education and was described as a thoroughly decent and helpful inmate.
He had never committed such a serious offence before, though no actual violence was used.
Judge Francis Gilbert QC said the robbery was more serious because it happened at night, at a small business, was planned and involved a disguise and a weapon.
He had intended his victim to believe the gun was real to make her open the till, and she had been terrified.
Judge Gilbert jailed Levers for a total of four years and three months, less six days spent on remand.