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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Teen knife terror raid in Grange

A SHOP boss recounted the terrifying moment a masked teenager brandished a 12-inch kitchen knife and attempted to rob his jewellery store.

Gary Johnston praised the community who helped him capture the two 16-year-old’s from Barrow as they made their escape through a town centre.

At Barrow Crown Court yesterday, the pair were warned they faced jail after admitting to the attempted robbery of Johnston’s Of Grange Ltd.

One of the youths also pleaded guilty to handling an article with a blade and damaging an electronic tagging device on the same day.

He is also awaiting sentences from Furness Youth Court for other burglaries.

Mr Johnston explained how events unfolded at his Main Street shop on March 3.

The 38-year-old said: “I had just shown a couple out and had gone into the rear of the shop when I heard the buzzer and I went out front.

“He was just stood there with his hood up, a towel wrapped around his face brandishing a 12 inch kitchen knife. He just asked for money and then said ‘give me your money’.

“I was in total shock and went towards the panic button and at that point he decided to leave. I shouted to dad in the back to call the police and I ran after them.

“I saw some traffic police and stopped them and told them what had happened and they radioed for back-up.

“A few local people had realised what was going on and shouted at me to tell me where they were heading.

“When the two saw me again they ran off again and then they split up, one went towards the station and another towards the duck pond.

“I saw some friends from Grange football team and they helped me find one who was hiding in a hedge. A woman managed to stop the other one by the station and we held them until the police arrived.

“It was so nice to see people stopping and helping and I can’t thank them all enough. It’s good to know that people are willing to help you out when in need.”

Leading investigator Detective Constable Alison Jesson said the two Barrow youths had gone to Grange with the intention of holding up a shop.

She said: “One stood outside while the other went in with a knife. It was the owner who raised the alarm and then acting on impulse gave chase. He was helped by members of the public who managed to detain them when they realised what was going on.

“They have both pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

“People who are determined to carry out these sort of violent crimes will be caught and brought to justice.”

Judge Beverly Lunt told the defendants yesterday: “I must warn you that for this I do not see any alternative other than immediate custody. You should be prepared for that.”

The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and the pair will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on May 5.

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