AN off-licence robber was identified immediately by police and his victim – because he did not put his balaclava mask on until he got to the shop door.
Officers looked at the CCTV which covered outside and saw his face clearly.
Yesterday Peter Wheeler, 21, was jailed for four years.
Mold Crown Court heard how the victim knew Wheeler as a customer who lived locally and had seen him visit the vicinity of the shop several times on the morning of the raid.
Wheeler, said to have been sofa surfing with friends in the Mold area, admitted robbery at knifepoint, blaming a £4,000 drugs debt.
Victim Yaojing Chen was working alone at By the Way Convenience on Wrexham Street in Mold, on Friday, June 28, and had become suspicious of Wheeler who stood outside a few times and on one occasion came in but then left again.
Prosecutor Karl Sholz said the 26-year-old complainant had been confronted by a man wearing a balaclava over his face and brandishing a knife.
A total of £100 had been taken from the till together with a charity box containing about £30.
“He entered wearing a balaclava and holding a knife which he pointed towards her,” the prosecutor said.
He told her to open the till, she was shocked and initially did not react.
He shouted at her again ‘open the till’ and she did as she was told.
He fled and she ran after him, raising the alarm on her mobile phone as she did so.
She returned and played the CCTV which showed Wheeler’s face outside the shop before he put his balaclava on.
Wheeler, who had previous convictions including an earlier attempted robbery, was arrested.
Mark Connor, defending, said Wheeler had made immediate admissions and had also volunteered the fact he had been dealing cannabis for another man.
“He was pressurised into drug dealing, he owed a substantial amount of money, he was told to rob the shop and stupidly did so. He knows he could have gone to the police or done something else,” he said.
Wheeler had come under pressure from a third party to supply cannabis on his behalf.
He was in debt to the tune of £4,000 to that man who he claimed gave him the knife and balaclava, drove him to the shop and told him to
As he fled, he handed over the proceeds to that man who drove him off, he claimed.
Wheeler also admitted the possessing the knife and supplying cannabis.
Following the case, DI Tim Evans, of Flintshire CID said: “The sentencing of Peter Wheeler reflects a strong message that those who commit such crimes with fear of violence will not be tolerated and robustly investigated.
“Members of the public and staff in the course of their work should not expect to be confronted by an armed and dangerous individual.
“Fortunately such incidents are rare and North Wales Police continue efforts to make our communities safer. Already compared to last year, within Flintshire there are 11 fewer victims of robbery offences a 69 per cent reduction.”