A convicted robber from Bedford who terrorised shop staff with a sawn-off shotgun has been jailed for eight years.
Charles Lee burst into the One Stop in Buckden High Street, armed with a sawn-off shotgun, and demanded customers and staff lay on the floor. An accomplice helped raid the store as Lee, 54, shouted to a member of staff to open the safe and tills.
They stole more than £8,000 worth of postage stamps and cash, before being challenged by a member of the public who saw the men leaving the store in balaclavas.
Lee threatened him with the shotgun and then escaped in a white Vauxhall Mokka which was later found set alight in a field off Mill Road in Buckden.
When officers arrived they found a grey and black beanie-style hat caught in the barbed wire of a fence next to the burning car.
It was sent off for DNA testing which later came back with a match to the DNA profile of Lee.
Lee, 54, was arrested at his home in Kathie Road, Bedford, on January 25.
The man who challenged Lee outside the One Stop also gave details in his witness statement that the man with the shotgun was wearing a grey balaclava and a beanie hat.
A second person, a 44-year-old man from Bedford, was also arrested in connection with the robbery, however he was released with no further action.
The jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts for robbery and possession of an imitation firearm, last Thursday (July 19) following a three-day trial at Peterborough Crown Court,
Lee was sentenced to eight years in prison for each offence, to run concurrently, however he is on a life licence after serving prison time for a number of other robbery offences as far back as 1995.
DC Kellymarie Harman said: “This was an incredibly traumatic incident for the victims who have found it hard to move on from what has happened.
“I hope that the sentencing reflects the seriousness of this offence and will give them some closure to put this behind them and carry on with their lives.”