Machete-wielding robber had South Shields newsagent fearing for his life as he demanded cigarettes

A terrified shopkeeper in South Tyneside feared he would die at the hands of a machete-wielding raider who stormed into his store demanding cigarettes.

Robert Sweet warned he would kill the worker at Anne’s Newsagents in New Green Street, South Shields, if his demands weren’t met.

Machete-wielding robber Robert Sweet, inset, demanded cigarettes in a raid on Anne's Newsagents in South Shields.

Machete-wielding robber Robert Sweet, inset, demanded cigarettes in a raid on Anne's Newsagents in South Shields.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 25-year-old left his victim so traumatised he is now considering selling his business.

During the raid, on April 13, Sweet, of Cobbett Street, South Shields, tried to secure his victim’s silence by claiming he was a sibling of murdered Tipu Sultan, who was shot as he worked at the Herbs & Spice Kitchen in Marsden, the week before.

Mr Sultan’s killers are still being hunted by detectives.

Sweet told the worker not to call the police after the raid, and said: “My brother has been killed in Herb & Spice. You are black, I am black. White people have taken my brother.”

The distress and fear this must have caused him cannot be underestimated

Judge Robin Mairs said

After repeatedly cutting the shop counter with his machete and claiming he would kill the worker, Sweet warned if the robbery was reported, he would “come back for him”.

He then left the store and gave the cigarettes away.

Sweet admitted robbery and having an offensive weapon.

Judge Robin Mairs jailed him for two-and-a-half years, and said: “The distress and fear this must have caused him cannot be underestimated.”