Watch the moment a brave Sunderland shopkeeper wrestled with a knifeman during a terrifying store robbery

A brave Sunderland shopkeeper wrestled with an armed robber who grabbed his till during a terrifying raid.

Michael Armstrong, who was wearing a hoodie, latex gloves and carrying a large knife, burst into the Lifestyle shop, in Ryhope, and demanded cash.

He pointed the weapon at a lone female worker, making her terrified, then carried away the till when he realised he was unable to open it.

Anwar Hussein, the 38-year-old owner of the store was in the flat upstairs with his children and saw what was happening on a CCTV screen.

As a result of the frightening footage, he heroically ran downstairs, grappled with Armstrong and ended up injured on the ground outside.

The till was later found abandoned, with cash missing from inside.

At Newcastle Crown Court Armstrong, a 33-year-old crack cocaine and heroin addict has been jailed for four years.

Michael Armstrong

Judge Stephen Earl told him: "You entered the store wearing latex gloves and carrying a knife from the outset.

"It must have been clear your purpose was to frighten the individual into immediate compliance to hand over the contents of the till, probably because you hoped it contained large sums of money for your drug addiction.

"You were shouting at the woman, tried to get her to open the till and you were putting her in fear for her own safety.

"It’s clear she was in fear by the way she was trying to open the till and the look on her face and demeanour. That’s clear from the footage I have seen.

The Lifestyle store in Ryhope

"The owner intervened, a struggle ensued and he suffered some minor injuries.

"You came to rob his shop and he tried to stop you. He tried to get you to put down the till and he seems to have had no real regard for his own safety."

The court heard he went to the Lifestyle shop, in Ryhope Street, at around 4.20pm on December 30 last year.

He pointed his knife at the female worker and tapped into the till to try to open it, shouting 'Give me the ******* money'.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said: "She struggled to open the till and he repeated his demands but she said she couldn’t open it.

"The shop owner was made aware by his children who saw on the CCTV what was happening and he ran down to confront the defendant."

Unable to open the till, Armstrong picked it up but it was plugged in to begin with.

Mr Hussein then grabbed him from behind and they got into a struggle which ended with the victim on the floor outside the shop.

He suffered a cut to his jaw and hurt his elbow.

Armstong fled with the till, which was later found with his blood on it and £100 had been stolen.

Armstrong, of Thomas Street, Ryhope, who has 43 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to robbery and threatening a person with an offensive weapon

Christopher McKee, defending, said Armstrong , who was using crack cocaine and heroin at the time, is remorseful and said the robbery was “a botched job”.

After the case, Mr Hussein - who lives above the store with his wife and two sons, aged six and 11 - recalled the evening when Armstrong targeted his business.

He said: "My staff were in the shop and I was upstairs. I was playing with my youngest son. There are CCTV monitors in the flat and we saw the man come in with a knife. He entered the shop and he was threatening my staff to hand over all the money from the till.

"He was unable to open the till without a transaction. My kids were playing and I could see everything upstairs on the CCTV. My youngest son noticed something was happening and started shouting then we saw a tall guy with a knife.

"I immediately came down and I tried to grab him but he was difficult to stop.

"It was wrong of me to to that as I didn't know what was going to happen. I tried to stop him, I was fighting to stop him but he was too strong.

"He took the till and went outside and I followed him."

Mr Hussein said his youngest son has been left traumatised by what happened.

He added: "My son saw someone with a knife threatening my staff and he screamed. He was very upset and now he's frightened, especially after dark.

"When I think about it now at the time I wasn't frighteed but now I think' Oh my God'.

"After what he did, the sentence is not enough."

Michael Armstrong
The Lifestyle store in Ryhope