A 22-year-old man from Widnes has been jailed for carrying out a knifepoint robbery at a supermarket in the town.
Daniel Flanagan, of Rivenmill Way, approached a cashier in the occupied store off Derby Road at around 8.15pm on Monday 23 November.
He demanded cash and told the man working behind the till that he had a knife.
Flanagan then produced a bread knife from his trouser pocket and was subsequently given the cash from the till by the supermarket’s manager.
After discovering that there was no cash in the other till, he fled the store on foot.
The robbery was reported to the police.
Aided by directions given from a member of the public who had been shopping in the supermarket, officers located and arrested Flanagan in nearby Mill Lane a short time afterwards.
Flanagan – who was in possession of the money stolen from the supermarket, as well as a quantity of cannabis – said to the arresting officers: “Fair enough, you caught me.”
When questioned in custody Flanagan admitted being responsible for the robbery.
He also admitted having a hammer and a mallet on him when he committed the crime. Unlike the knife, he kept those concealed.
Flanagan said that he was ‘pretty drunk’ when he carried out the robbery and that he did so to pay off a debt that he had built up through his addiction to cocaine.
He also said that losing his job earlier in November had left him unable to pay off his drug debt.
Flanagan was charged with robbery, possession of a knife in a public place and possession of a class B drug (cannabis).
He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 26 February.
Flanagan was jailed for two years and eight months.
Detective Constable Kerif Smythe, who led the investigation at Widnes Local Policing Unit, said: “Daniel Flanagan carried out an armed robbery at a supermarket containing customers as well as members of staff.
“He may have been desperate for money on the back of his drug addiction, but that in no way excuses him subjecting those who were in the store that day to such a frightening ordeal.
“It was particularly traumatic for the people working at the supermarket that Flanagan demanded money from whilst brandishing a knife.
“I hope the fact Flanagan has now been jailed for his actions gives them some reassurance and closure.
“I also hope that it deters others from committing similar offences.”
Chief Inspector Sarah Heath, Cheshire Constabulary’s knife crime lead, added: “We are committed to doing all we can to tackle knife crime.
“We will respond robustly to any knife related incidents and do all we can to ensure that anyone found to be carrying a knife or committing a knife related offence is brought to justice.
“Members of the public have a vital role to play in our fight against knife crime by giving us information about crimes involving knives and those who carry weapons.
“I would like to thank the member of the public who helped us locate Daniel Flanagan as he attempted to flee on foot with the cash he had stolen during the knifepoint robbery.”
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in securing this conviction.
“As a result of the good work of the officers involved in the case, and the information provided by a member of the public, an armed robber is behind bars facing the consequences of his actions.”