A TEENAGER who held up an off-licence with a cigarette lighter shaped like a gun has narrowly avoided jail.
The 17-year-old entered Town Hill Market on Wrexham’s Town Hill under the influence of alcohol and drugs and threatened a member of staff, waving the gun-shaped implement in his face and ordering him to empty the till.
The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted charges of attempted robbery, possession of an imitation firearm and theft from a shop at an earlier hearing.
As CCTV footage of the raid, which happened on November 26, was played back to magistrates at Wrexham Youth Court yesterday, the teenager sobbed.
The footage showed the youth pointing the imitation weapon at 26-year-old Salih Kilic and threatening to shoot him if he did not hand over the money from the till.
Mr Kilic’s limited understanding of English meant he did not comply with the order and the youth instead grabbed 10 cans of high-strength lager from the shelves before leaving.
Wyn Jones, prosecuting, described the imitation weapon as an “obvious replica”, albeit one which was “quite realistic”.
Mr Kilic, who saw the gun but did not understand what was being said, was off work for three days as a result of the incident.
Ceri Evans, defending, said the incident was a “terrifying ordeal” for the victim and if the crime was committed by an adult, they may be tried in a crown court and sentenced to prison.
She said the attempted robbery was out of character for the youth, described as “not the most mature 17-year-old”.
Miss Evans told the court the youth had consumed a large quantity of cider on the day of the incident and, although he did not usually take drugs, he had done so that day.
She said when questioned by police, he had no recollection of the event but accepted from the video footage that it was him.
Roland Humphries, chairing the magistrates’ bench, said he and his fellow magistrates were “horrified” by the CCTV footage.
Mr Humphries said: “It is a most serious offence. This is not a case where we can say the custodial threshold has not been met.
“Anyone who uses a gun, be it imitation or real, can look to receive a custodial sentence.
“We have, however, to have a clear regard to our guidelines in dealing with young people to prevent further offending.”
Sparing him a custodial sentence, Mr Humphries sentenced the teenager to a 12-month referral order, as well as a two-month curfew.
Mr Humphries said the teenager was not getting off with a light sentence, describing the intensive order as a “heavy package”.
He added: “It is not letting you off lightly because if you do not comply, you will be back before the court and you will be dealt with in a severe way
“All in all you can count yourself a very lucky man today. We don’t want to see you here again.
“You are an extremely fortunate young man in that you have extremely supportive parents.”
He was also ordered to pay £17.50 compensation for the theft of the beer and £250 to Mr Kilic for the distress caused and the loss of three days’ work.
Mr Humphries also imposed £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge, bringing the total financial penalty to £367.50.