Neath robbery attempt to pay off drug debts
TWO balaclava-clad robbers who left a shop assistant terrified have been jailed after a botched robbery.
Philip Griffiths and Nicholas Griffin both admitted attempted robbery after running into The Cabin on George Street, Neath.
They left empty-handed and were tracked down by police after passers-by became suspicious of the pair wearing balaclavas at 11am.
They wrote down the car's registration number, which was linked to Griffiths's girlfriend.
The pair ran into the shop on October 6 and ordered Lyanne Elias to "open the ****ing till and give me the ****ing money."
She said she originally thought it was a prank when she saw the two men run in.
Her five-year-old daughter was in a back room at the shop when Griffin lent over and tried to open the till.
Mrs Elias pushed a panic alarm, but when that didn't sound, she pushed a mobile alarm before grabbing a wooden truncheon.
When Griffin tried to pull scratch cards from the counter, she tried to hit him over the head with the baton.
The incident, shown to the court on CCTV, lasted a matter of seconds.
After the two men left the shop, Mrs Elias was left "very shaken and in a state of shock," prosecutor Frances Jones said.
Griffiths, 34, was subject to a suspended sentence when he committed the offence.
His barrister, Frank Phillips, said he had been in the Army for five years and had served in Northern Ireland and a term as a private security contractor in Iraq. Mr Phillips said Griffiths thought he had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder since his return.
He said Griffiths had got into debt because of gambling and drugs.
John Hipkin, representing Griffin, 29, said: "Importantly no force was actually perpetrated on the complainant and this was not a sustained or prolonged incident."
Judge Huw Davies said it was a "dreadful" incident.
He gave Griffin a 10-month sentence, and Griffiths, who also admitted driving while disqualified and having no insurance a 12-month term.