Robber ‘threatened supermarket worker with fake gun’

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A ROBBER who threatened a shop assistant with a fake gun before making off with more than £1,000 from a till has been jailed for four years.

A court heard the victim believed she was going to be shot during the incident at the Nisa store in Garforth.

Leeds Crown Court was told Luke Kirkley targeted the store at 7.20pm on December 11 last year.

He was covered his face before approaching the counter with a pack of beer. Kirkley then produced the imitation weapon before demanding cash from the till.

The woman told Kirkley she could not open the till without a transaction and he ordered her to scan the pack of beer.

He then took £1,200 from the till and left with the cash and the beer. The incident was caught on CCTV.

Kirkley was arrested after his fingerprint was found on the counter.

Police went to his home two days later and found a fake weapon. A charred till tray was also found in the garden. He was also found in possession of a small amount of cannabis

Kirkley initially refused to comment but later broke down in tears and admitted to officer what he had done.

He said he committed the offence out of desperation as he was being threatened over a drug debt he had built up with dealers.

Kirkley, of Barley Hill Road, Garforth, pleaded guilty to robbery, possession of an imitation firearm and possession of cannabis.

He has previous convictions for theft possession of an offensive weapon.

Kirkley, who appeared in court via prison video link, wept as the details of the incident described in court.

Ilyas Patel, mitigating, said: “He is completely upset and and genuinely remorseful for what he has done and he had the good sense to enter guilty pleas.

“Nothing can justify of excuse or explain away what he did.”

Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, said: “This was a pre-planned offence out of a pressing need to repay a drugs debt which you had incurred.

“The victim said she thought you would shoot her and it takes little imagination as to the effect that must have had on her and her confidence.”