Two hooded men who robbed an Accrington off-licence at knifepoint then phoned up police to confess their crime have been jailed for total of eight years.
Heroin addict Stephen Meakin, 26, and his cousin Daniel McGrath, left staff terrified after fleeing from Bargain Booze on Whalley Road after 'enthusiastically' helping themselves to up to £400 from the till during a raid on February 5.
Burnley Crown Court heard how Meakin then got a friend to take them to Blackpool, telling her he had come into money from his stepfather and wanted to spend it in the casinos and slot machines.
He later called police and confessed to carrying out an “armed robbery” and asked an officer to meet him at the front door of the police station.
Meakin, of no fixed abode, did not turn up but the pair, who were also caught on CCTV, were arrested the next day and both denied any involvement in the offence.
Police have released these audio files of the offenders handing themselves in.
Click the links on the right to listen to the phone calls
McGrath, of Whalley Road, Clayton-le-Moors, told police: “I'd like to confess to doing an armed robbery earlier today. It was on Whalley Road in Accrington and it was Bargain Booze.”
When the officer asked him to identify him self he replied: “I don't want to give my name I just want to hand myself. I will be about half-an-hour to 40 minutes.”
In a separate phone call to police, Meakin said: “I pulled the knife out, took the money off him and that's it.”
When asked to confirm if he did it he said: “Yes I did it.”
Meakin, who admitted robbery and pleaded guilty to having an article with a blade, was jailed for four-and-a-half years. McGrath, who also admitted to the robbery, was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Kevin Donnelly, prosecuting, said Meakin accepted he was the instigator and pressurised McGrath into taking part, produced the knife and took the main role.
The court heard how Mr Samuel Gee, who was working alone in the off-licence in the rear storeroom, sensed something was going to happen after hearing both men enter the shop.
Mr Donnelly said Meakin reached into his clothing, produced what the victim described as a hunting type knife with a six-inch blade, approached within two feet of him and thrust the blade towards him.
The defendant was aggressive and shouted “give me all the money.”
The court heard how Mr Gee was so terrified he could not get the right till combination. He was eventually able to open it before both men then grabbed cash from the till.
The defendants then left the shop, pushing past a female customer who found Mr Gee very upset.
The prosecutor said Meakin then phoned a female friend who picked the defendants up with her friend from Blackburn and dropped them off at a bed and breakfasts in Blackpool.
When the women later rejoined the defendants the men had been drinking and, after refusing to stay overnight with the defendants, Meakin angrily told his friend : “I have just done an armed robbery for you.”
McGrath then tried to shut Meakin up but said he had just robbed Bargain Booze. He said he had intended to target a bookmakers, but it had been shut.
On the way back to Accrington, Meakin told his friend : “If it's what you want, I will hand myself in.” He then phoned the police to confess to the robbery and said he was on his way to the police station.
Mr Donnelly said the next day officers went to McGrath's flat, forced entry and arrested the defendants. Meakin asked if he was being arrested for a robbery he had committed and added : “I don't know where the knife is.” Both men then made denials.
Alan Wolstenholme, defending for Meakin, said he was a heroin addict and had led a chaotic lifestyle. He was determined to change and incarceration had perhaps been the best thing that could have happened to him.
He added : “It was a life with no focus and no centre and of course had no discipline.”
Defending McGrath, Simon Gurney said the offence was opportunistic and “he was caught up in an incident which was clearly planned by his co-defendant.”
Sentencing, Judge Robert Altham said the robbery must have been terrifying for Mr Gee.
He told the defendants : “He was a vulnerable victim in the sense he was on his own in the shop. There were two of you, which makes this offence particularly cowardly.”
Speaking after sentencing, DS Paul Langley said: “This was a very frightening ordeal for the shop assistant who was working in the shop on his own at the time.
“It is very unusual to receive a phone call confession from an offender. Clearly Meakin was feeling some kind of initial remorse for what he had done although it was very short-lived.
“The phone call, combined with the CCTV footage from the store and the knife and the hooded jackets which were recovered from McGrath’s home address, provided the police with over whelming evidence and I am satisfied with the sentence they have been given.”