A masked raider was jailed for three years after trying to rob a shopkeeper who recognised him and asked: “Are you joking?”
Jobless Jonathan Clamp had a scarf over the lower part of his face and brandished a bread knife as he demanded cash from the store on Nottingham Road, Ilkeston, at around 9pm on January 6.
Shopkeeper Manohan Heer then pulled out a baseball bat as Clamp tried to get behind the counter, Derby Crown Court heard on Wednesday, February 12.
“The defendant still demanded money and swung the knife towards Mr Heer who moved out of the way. The defendant opened the door to the shop as Mr Heer swung the baseball bat.
“The defendant’s manner changed and he started to plead with Mr Heer not to phone the police and attempted to shake Mr Heer’s hand,” said Sarah Allen, prosecuting.
Mr Heer’s wife Baljinder had been upstairs watching TV. She realised something was wrong and came down with a brush in her hand - prompting Clamp to run from the shop.
Clamp, 21, of Stanley Street, Ilkeston, admitted attempted robbery. At the time, he was on bail for two burglaries and these were taken into consideration when sentenced.
Stuart Newsam, mitigating, said Clamp accepted he was facing his first spell in custody and had quickly admitted the offence, which was ‘the best demonstration of remorse he can offer’.
“There were no injuries and no violence was inflicted. His attitude did change and there was some indication at the end of the incident that remorse was evident at the scene.
“He is an intelligent young man with positive aspects,” said Mr Newsam. At the time, Clamp was estranged from his family, and suffering from “drug and alcohol addictions.”
Judge John Burgess told Clamp: “This was a corner shop and the shopkeeper was alone. You go in with your face covered.
“I don’t know if you can imagine what it must have been like to be in that position with you demanding money and producing a knife. It must have been a terrifying experience.
“People like this shopkeeper are entitled to know if anybody does that, the courts will punish them severely. You didn’t know he was robust enough to defend himself with a baseball bat and his wife came down with a brush.”
After the case, Mr Heer pointed out that Clamp would be freed on licence in 18 months and said: “That is regrettable, it should have been a bit more.
“He had been in the shop about two hours earlier and my wife served him so we recognised him,” added Mr Heer, 44, who has run the store for nine years without similar problems.
Detective constable Rebecca Wilde investigated the case and said Derbyshire Police were pleased with the three-year sentence.
She said Clamp had called police to say he had been attacked by five men on the night of the attempted robbery, partly to justify being late for his curfew while on bail.
Police became suspicious of the story and linked him to the robbery bid after twice searching his home and finding the clothing he had been wearing.