Paul Skidmore, 38, stole bottles of spirits as he raided the “Best One” convenience store in Ocean Road, South Shields, in August.
After the woman saw him placing bottles into his bag, she told him to put the items back. He initially agreed, but moments later forced his way through a staff-only door and demanded the scared employee empty the till before pinning her against the counter as she attempted to press the panic button.
After scanning the store’s CCTV, police identified Skidmore and carried out further enquiries at South Tyneside Hospital, where the defendant had been discharged just hours prior to the offence.
He was wearing the same clothes, and was also wearing the hospital band on his wrist as he carried out the robbery.
Skidmore, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to robbery at a Newcastle Crown Court. He will be sentenced on November 1.
Detective Constable David Horsley, of Northumbria Police’s Southern CID, said: “This was an appalling incident that left a 65-year-old who was working at the store absolutely terrified.
“Skidmore showed a total disregard for the welfare of the employee and overpowered her as she desperately tried to call for help. He then left the store having stolen numerous bottles of alcohol.
“Upon arrest, Skidmore refused to co-operate with police and made the victim attempt to pick him out in an identification procedure, which will have caused further distress and anguish.
“This type of behaviour is totally unacceptable and we are committed to ensuring those who prey on others and threaten the fabric of our communities are taken off the streets and dealt with robustly.
“I would like to thank the victim in this case for her bravery and co-operation, and reassure the community that this type of criminality will not be tolerated.”
The female employee was uninjured but admitted she was in ‘still in shock’ when officers arrived at the store.