Armed robber who terrorised shop assistants is jailed for eight years

Runcorn and Widnes World: Andrew Little Andrew Little

AN armed robber who pointed a weapon at the face of terrified shop assistants in three raids has been jailed for eight years.

Andrew Little, aged 38, of Cherry Sutton, Widnes, admitted three counts of robbery and three counts of possession of a firearm in August 2013.

The first robbery happened on Saturday, August 3 at 8.10pm at the Londis Stores in Bechers.

Little pointed the weapon at the head of one of the shop assistants before leaning over and stealing a quantity of cash.

He placed the money in a black holdall and fled on foot towards Hough Green Road.

The second robbery happened shortly before 7pm on Wednesday, August 14, at McColls in Bechers.

Little again pointed a weapon at the face of a shop assistant demanding staff put money into his black holdall.

The third robbery took place on Wednesday, August 21, at 9.10pm at Avondale Stores, in Sunningdale Avenue.

Little again threatened a female shop assistant her with the weapon.

He then pushed another shop assistant towards the till and demanded that it be opened. Both women stated that they could not open the till and Little threatened them further with the weapon.

The till was eventually opened and Little stole cash, escaping on a mountain bike.

Extensive enquiries included taking numerous witness statements, analysing CCTV footage and securing any forensic evidence.

Clothing worn by the offender in each robbery was similar and detectives soon realised that all three incidents were linked.

Little was arrested on August 22 and he was subsequently charged. Clothing he had worn whilst committing his crimes were found discarded in a bag nearby.

He was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Friday.

DS Dave Hutcheon said: "Robbery is a serious enough crime in itself but when the offender commits that crime armed with a weapon it can have a major impact on all those involved.

"Little targeted three local stores and threatened staff, who were going about their daily routine, with a weapon. This was a terrifying experience for all of those involved and it genuinely put them in fear of their life.

"No-one should ever have to experience anything like this and the sentence handed down to Little reflects the seriousness of his crimes.

"I hope that the lengthy custodial sentence helps the victims to move forward with their lives - and I hope that the time behind bars will allow Little to reflect upon the consequences of what he has done.

"Little has not only showed complete disregard not only for the law but also for the safety and wellbeing of those victims involved in the crimes."

Sgt Hutcheon added: "Cheshire Police is committed to tackling robberies in Halton. We work closely alongside the business community to offer advice and support and we want to reassure the business community that we take any incidents of this nature extremely seriously and, as in this particular case, we will do all we can to trace those responsible and ensure they are brought to justice.

"This is a significant result and we hope that it serves as a warning to other would-be robbers that if you choose to come into Runcorn or Widnes and break the law you will be actively targeted, caught and punished."

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