A FEMALE armed robber and her two accomplices have been jailed for 30 years - after Sheffield shop workers were threatened with two foot-long machetes and forced to open safes before being tied up.
Jenny Marshall, 33, masked her face with a scarf and hood to steal £4,800 from the Co-op on Devonshire Terrace in Dore, Sheffield, last December.
Romus Smith, also 33, helped carry out the raid - while Marshall’s boyfriend Andrew Ellis, 53, waited round the corner as the getaway driver.
A ‘mastermind’ - named by the trio in court as Martin Cooke, or ‘Cookie’ - is suspected of providing inside information. Police are now working to identify the mole - who is thought to have received a £1,500 ‘cut’.
It is believed Cookie could have helped plan as many as 11 other raids at Co-op branches in the last year.
Sheffield Crown Court heard the victims’ statements made for ‘harrowing reading’.
Judge Recorder Robert Sangster QC said: “What happened was terrifying for the manageress, Helen Staniforth, and the store’s baker, Alison Wells.
“Marshall said, ‘Do you want to die, bitch?’ and asked, ‘Why are you crying, it’s not your money?’.
“Miss Staniforth describes screaming, death threats, and feeling the imprint of the knife on her skin while helpless.”
The trio were jailed for 10 years each after admitting conspiracy to rob - but only after a trial had already started, and Marshall and Ellis’s teenage niece had been forced to go on the witness stand.
The judge said: “You gave a 16-year-old girl a tin of cash and told her that, if the police came, she was to say it was her Christmas money.
“You put her in the most dreadful position at the start of the trial when you, Marshall, instructed your barrister to cross-examine her. To her immense credit, the girl stuck to her guns and told the truth.”
Smith, of Penrose Place, Woodhouse, Sheffield, and Marshall and Ellis, both of Conrakes Lane, Whiston, Rotherham, were all serial offenders, the court heard.
The judge told them: “This was a serious pre-planned robbery.
“It is clear you had inside information - you knew what time staff would be opening up and you waited for them to do that.
“As soon as the door was open, two of you went in disguised and armed. You knew there were two safes, and you sent a text afterwards about the cut your foreman Cookie would receive.”
The gang, all drug addicts, were caught after eyewitnesses spotted Marshall and Smith, faces covered, staggering out of the shop with bags of cash to the Fiat Punto Ellis was driving.
One man noted the car’s numberplate, which was traced back to a hire firm, leading them to Ellis. He had also allowed personal paperwork to fall out of the getaway car, and police found computer cable ties inside it similar to those used to tie up the staff.