Robber terrified staff at Leeds Co-op store with fake gun after release from jail

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A ROBBER terrified staff at a Co-op store with a fake handgun after being released from prison on licence for an identical raid at a Leeds shop.

Luke Kirkley pointed the imitation weapon at a member of staff at the store in Whinmoor and demanded he handed over the till.

Luke Kirkley pointed the imitation weapon at a member of staff at the store in Whinmoor and demanded he handed over the till.

Luke Kirkley pointed the imitation weapon at a member of staff at the store in Whinmoor and demanded he handed over the till.

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Kirkley, 30, left with just a bottle bottle of brandy and some tobacco during the incident on April 12 this year.

Leeds Crown Court heard Kirkley went into the shop at 8.30pm and was seen acting suspiciously.

He left but returned an hour later and told a female member of staff that youths were trying to climb over the back entrance to the store.

The woman went to investigate and Kirkley approached the till and asked for a bottle of brandy and some tobacco.

He then took a silver gun out of the pocket of his hoodie, pointed it at the man behind the counter and said: "Give me the till."

The staff member was unable to remove it and Kirkley left the premises.

He was recognised by police officers who viewed CCTV footage of the incident.

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Kirkley was arrested in the street on May 2. His bag was searched and a knife and a pair of police-issue handcuffs were inside.

Kirkley admitted that he had stolen the handcuffs and admitted possessing a bladed article.

He was found guilty of robbery and possession of an imitation firearm after a trial.

Rukhshanda Hussain, prosecuting, said one of the members of staff felt unable to return to work as a result of the incident.

Kirkley was jailed for four years in January 2016 for a robbery at a Nisa store in Garforth.

A shop assistant was threatened with a fake handgun before Kirkley made off with £1,000 from the till.

He was released from prison on licence in December last year.

Michael Walsh, mitigating, said Kirkley accepted he must receive a longer sentence because of the previous conviction.

Kirkley was given an extended prison sentence totalling seven years.

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He must serve a minimum of four years in custody before he can apply to the parole board for release.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar told Kirkley: "It is sheer good fortune that (the shop assistant) did not suffer greater harm.

"Somebody of a weaker constitution may have suffered severe psychological harm caused to him or her.

"I deem you to be dangerous."

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