TWO men who committed a terrifying armed robbery at a shop in Cheshire have been jailed.

David Holt and Simon Baker, both of O’Leary Street in Orford, stole cash and a mobile phone from Cash Generator in Bridge Street, Warrington.

Holt, 45, was armed with a kitchen knife, which he pointed it at people working at the store while demanding cash from the safe and the till.

Baker, 51, stayed by the door to preventing anyone from entering or leaving the shop and ensuring he and his accomplice could have a smooth getaway.

The pair, who have lengthy criminal records, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court this morning, Wednesday, where they were handed sentences of imprisonment

Sarah Griffin, prosecuting, explained how they went into the shop together at around 11am on Monday 19 October. Both were wearing face coverings.

After being given £500 in cash from the till by one of the store’s workers and stealing an iPhone that was being prepared for sale, Holt headed towards the door.

He and Baker then left the store before fleeing the area in a Volkswagen Beetle that was parked in a nearby alley.

Chester and District Standard: David HoltDavid Holt

One member of staff suffered a panic attack as a result of the incident and could not get her breath back.

Police were called and officers managed to locate the offenders at Holt’s Peninsula House flat around half an hour after the pair had committed the robbery.

A town centre CCTV operator played a key role in this, by finding footage of the pair’s getaway and giving officers details of the car they fled in.

It was parked outside Baker’s flat, of which he and Holt were inside.

They were wearing the same clothing that they had on when they committed the robbery, and cash they stole from the store was on the floor at the flat and in Baker’s trouser pocket.

The mobile phone they stole was also in the flat behind a sofa that Holt was sat on. Officers saw him throw it there in an attempt to hide it.

Also in the flat was the kitchen knife that Holt was armed with during the robbery and the keys to the VW Beetle.

Officers used the keys to open the car, which contained the stolen mobile phone’s cover.

Holt and Baker were both arrested at the flat and taken into custody to be interviewed.

Chester and District Standard: Simon BakerSimon Baker

Holt admitted the role he played in the robbery when he was questioned by officers, expressing remorse for his actions and claiming that he acted in desperation for money to buy drugs.

He was subsequently charged with robbery and possession of a knife in a public place and pleaded guilty to both offences.

Baker denied being involved in the incident and was found guilty of robbery following a three-day trial.

The pair returned to Liverpool Crown Court to be sentenced this morning by recorder Mark Ainsworth.

Holt, who has 45 previous convictions for 76 offences, was jailed for four years.

Baker, who has 23 previous convictions for 81 offences, was handed a sentence of seven years of imprisonment with an extended licence period of three years.

Following their sentencing, DC Jill Peggs, who led the investigation at Warrington Local Policing Unit, said: “David Holt and Simon Baker worked together to commit the armed robbery.

“As a result of their actions, the people who were inside the store that day were subjected to a terrifying ordeal.

“Holt pointed the kitchen knife he was armed with at members of staff while demanding cash.

“The incident understandably left them extremely shaken up.

“Thankfully, with the help of a town centre CCTV operator, we were able to locate Holt and Baker around half-an-hour after they had committed the robbery.

Chester and District Standard: Liverpool Crown CourtLiverpool Crown Court

“We caught them red-handed and were able to recover the cash and the mobile phone that they stole.

“I hope the fact the pair have now been jailed gives those who were in the store during the robbery some closure and provides reassurance to the Warrington community.

“With Holt blaming his actions on an addiction to drugs, this case highlights the fact that illegal drugs blight our communities, causing untold damage to both those who use them and the wider society who suffer from the resulting crime.

“Hopefully this case will deter others from using illegal drugs and committing such 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 also 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.”

To report any type of crime involving weapons, call Cheshire Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

Information can also be passed to the force online via cheshire.police.uk/ro/report or given to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.