A fish and chip shop owner and his wife were left terrified after three hooded thugs broke into their shop and brandished a hammer before fleeing with the contents of the till.
The armed robbery happened in the early hours, while the owner’s frightened wife was upstairs in the couple’s flat.
Brian Outhwaite, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court the chippy owner, who also had a second job as a taxi driver, had gone out to work when the trio struck in the early hours of April 22 at the shop in Barnsley.
“It was the intention to go in and steal from the till,” he said.
Mr Outhwaite said the wife rang her husband at 1.50am to tell him she was very frightened having heard noises downstairs.
“He returned and found a door had been forced and was wide open,” said Mr Outhwaite.
“He saw a male in possession of a hammer, swinging the hammer towards the charity boxes which were attached to a chain.
“He grabbed hold of the male who struggled free. A second male ran from the premises, and he saw a third male standing outside acting as a look-out.”
Mr Outhwaite said Thomas Braithwaite, aged 18, James Wright, 20, and Daniel Foster, 21, fled.
The owner then discovered his till containing £700 had been taken, and the burglars had tried to steal the charity boxes.
The trio were arrested at Holden House, a supported housing project on nearby Race Street where all three were staying at the time.
The hammer was recovered from Wright’s bedsit.
In a police interview Foster claimed they’d seen someone else kick the door of the shop in and they ‘just went in afterwards’.
Wright admitted entering the premises with the hammer, and Braithwaite said he’d gone to the premises and stood by the door but didn’t go in.
All three pleaded guilty to burglary.
Mr Outhwaite said Braithwate was also charged with three offences of indecent exposure on May 29, 30 and June 1, when he had performed a sex act at his window and on the street, upsetting a neighbour who called the police.
He also admitted a further charge of possessing a knuckleduster.
The judge Mr Recorder Simon Phillips QC said: “This was a concerted attempt to steal money at night time from a commercial premises.”
Braithwaite, of Pye Avenue, Mapplewell, Barnsley, was given a nine month jail term suspended for 18 months, plus 150 hours community work.
Foster, now of Grimsby, and Wright, of Wakefield, got nine month jail terms suspended for 12 months.