An Isle shopkeeper has voiced her relief at the jailing of an armed robber who put two of her staff through ‘unbelievable trauma’.
Anthony Smith has been jailed for 15 years following a spate of robberies across the area including holding up a village store in Haxey.
Two women members of staff were threatened during the raid on Greenhill Stores when intruders wearing balaclavas, one of whom was brandishing a gun, burst into the shop.
Beverley Suszczenia, owner of the store in Greenhill Road, said: “They were both manhandled roughly and told to lie face-down on the floor with their hands behind their backs.
“They were terrified of course, and it was made worse when the men smashed one of the tills up in the shop.
“They didn’t know what was happening and had the gun held to their backs. The men eventually went, leaving a mass of damage and taking a till with them.
“They took no stock, just money and the till.”
Smith, 44, of Doncaster, was locked up at Sheffield Crown Court for conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.
He pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit nine robberies across Doncaster, North Lincolnshire and Humberside over a 10- day period in February 2012.
Mrs Suszczenia, 42, said: “My two members of staff were put through hell by this gang.”
She added: “They were not badly injured physically, but emotionally they were very shaken and distraught, as anyone would be if they went through such an ordeal.
“They had no idea at the time if they would be harmed or not. You don’t expect such things to happen in a nice quiet village like this, but it seems that crime is spreading across everywhere these days.
“This was our first such incident in 11 years of running the shop.”
She continued: “I’m glad that there’s been a conviction and that he confessed in the end to robbing our store and others.
“The police did get fingerprints from here and we had CCTV footage as we have cameras all around the store.”
The store staff who suffered the robbery both bravely returned to work for their shifts the following day.
“They were determined not to be beaten,” said Mrs Suszczenia.
“But it was a horrible experience all round and one which we hope will never be repeated.”
The robberies committed were at stores and supermarkets on February 17 in Haxey, February 19 in Keelby, and on February 27 in Winterton, Scotter and Gainsborough.
Three Doncaster robberies were on February 25.
The robbers used similar tactics at each raid.
Speaking after the case Det Con Michelle Thompson of South Yorkshire Police said: “Thankfully there were no injuries sustained by anyone in these robberies, but the people subjected to these incidents were extremely shaken and frightened.
“The sentence given reflects the horrific ordeal they went through and the calculated plans Smith conspired to make for the robberies to be committed.
“This kind of crime will not be tolerated.”
Humberside Police did not want to comment as detectives in South Yorkshire had led the investigation.