CCTV footage of a woman being threatened with a gun during a violent robbery has been released by police after two men were each jailed for 10 years.
Michael Harkins, 37, and Ashley Peter Wright, 34, carried out a string of armed robberies with a silver pellet gun over eight days between July 12 and 20 last year. They were arrested on July 21 after a dramatic car chase during which Wright drove his van at a police vehicle.
They were each jailed for 10 years at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court after pleading guilty to robbery at a previous hearing.
Detective Inspector Gina Brennand, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "Harkins and Wright were ruthless, robbing four shops in eight days and subjecting five victims to terrifying ordeals in the process."
Harkins, of Marple Court, Stockport, alone targeted an off-licence in Bredbury, near Stockport, in Greater Manchester before pointing the handgun at the cashier. Police said she screamed in terror and was left cowering on the shop floor as he shouted: "Get on the floor or I'll shoot you." He made off with £1,800 of the shop's takings as well as the woman's handbag containing £105.
Harkins and Wright, of Haymans Walk, Manchester, then carried out two robberies, one in Stockport and another in nearby Romiley, on July 19. During the first of the raids, a shopkeeper fought back, using a metal bar in a bid to protect himself after he was threatened with a handgun and a meat cleaver.
The victim was left with a gash on his head after the robbers attacked him and rugby tackled him to the ground, fleeing with £100 in cash and £100 worth of cigarettes. In another off-licence robbery a woman was tied up and forced to the floor.
Speaking after Harkins and Wright were sentenced, Brennand added: "One of the victims was left with serious head injuries after he bravely fought to defend himself and his property, Wright and Harkins showed no mercy during their brutal assault.
"In the end it was discovered that the gun they were using to threaten these victims was a pellet gun, but it was realistic enough to be completely convincing for the terrified shopkeepers to think they were facing a real firearm.
"They caused significant emotional and physical harm, all for the sake of a few hundred pounds, and are fully deserving of the jail sentence they received."