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Raiders who tried to rob shopkeeper at knifepoint sentenced

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Two masked raiders who brandished carving knives when they tried to rob a shop keeper have been sentenced. Kevin Francis-Smith (18) and a 14-year-old youth demanded cash from the till at the former Supamac store, in Grange Drive, Melton. However, they fled empty-handed after the storekeeper, Jitu Patel, bravely stood up to them, wielding a parcel containing a long metal pole, on May 30 last year. Francis-Smith, of Denton Rise, Melton, who has since turned 19, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years detention, at Leicester Crown Court today. He denied the attempted robbery, but was convicted by a jury at a recent trial. His young accomplice, now 15, who cannot be named for legal reasons because he is a juvenile, pleaded guilty to the offence. He was given a two year youth rehabilitation order, with supervision, and a 30-day specified activity requirement. CCTV footage of the frightening incident was shown in court. The defendants, with hoods and balaclava masks, can be seen pushing their knives towards the victim. Sentencing, Recorder Graham Huston said the knives were "large, dangerous and menacing" and waved dangerously close to the victim's face. He added: "That man had served the local community, providing a valuable service for many years, and worked extremely hard throughout his life. "In the months leading up to his retirement he didn't deserve to be treated in such a violent and mean way. "You two thought it would be an easy push over, but Mr Patel proved to be no push over and he was prepared to chase you two cowardly individuals from his shop. "He was left shaking like a leaf and genuinely believed he was going to die. "Because of your respective ages, I'm dealing with you differently." Lynsey Knott, prosecuting, said the shop keeper - who had run the store for 25 years - was shocked when the masked raiders burst into his shop at 9.30pm. After one of them demanded cash, Mr Patel managed to secretly press the panic alarm and then noticed a pole behind him, which was a customer's parcel. The court heard neither defendant had previous convictions. Shahnawaz Khan, for Francis-Smith said: "He accepts the jury's decision and is genuinely remorseful. "He accepts the impact it would have had on the victim and his family." The court heard he accrued a debt over drug taking and was in need of money at the time. Sarah Knight, for the juvenile, said: "He admitted it as soon as he was arrested and the youth services have engaged with him from an early stage and he's been making good progress." Yesterday after the hearing, Mr Patel said: "The older man should have got four years to teach him a lesson. "It was a very serious and terrifying attack. I thought they would kill me. "But he will be out in a year and I don't think it will have any affect on him. I suppose we will have to wait to see what happens. "The supervision order, I think will teach the younger one something. Perhaps it will make him thing twice about getting involved in something as horrifying like this again." Mr Patel and his wife, Illa, retired last September. The shop is now a One Stop store.

Raiders who tried to rob shopkeeper at knifepoint sentenced


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