A robber held up a Rugby shopkeeper at gunpoint in front of a horrified mother and her three children - but then turned and fled empty-handed.
After being arrested for that, Jordan Staple was granted bail, and went on to carry out two burglaries, a judge at Warwick Crown Court has heard.
Staple (21) of Wentworth Drive, Rugby, was jailed for 40 months after pleading guilty to attempted robbery and possessing an imitation firearm at the time of committing an offence.
He was given a consecutive six-month sentence for two offences of burglary, with another taken into consideration, which he had also admitted.
Prosecutor Nicholas Burn said that in September last year Staple decided to carry out a robbery at the Hillside News and Wine shop in Norton Leys, Rugby, which he thought would be an easy target.
He first went to the shop to check it out and tried to buy something, but the note he handed over was rejected by the cashier.
Staple, who had borrowed a heavy and realistic-looking BB gun from a friend, saying he wanted it to threaten someone, then returned about 40 minutes later.
Wearing black clothes and with his hood up, he went to the counter where he pointed the gun at shopkeeper Malleswararao Govada’s face and demanded: “Give me money.”
At first Mr Govada thought it was someone having a joke and responded: “Are you kidding?”
He then realised that what was going on was for real; but before he could hand over any money, Staple said: “Oh just forget it,’ and turned and ran out of the shop.
The shopkeeper ran out after him to see which way he had gone, and then returned and called the police.
Mr Burn said there were other customers in the shop at the time, including a woman who was with her three children when Staple walked past her holding the gun, which appeared to be real.
She later said: “When I saw the gun in his hand I felt absolute terror, and I feared for the safety of my three sons. I now can’t sleep at night for worrying how things might have ended differently.”
A few days later Staple confessed to his social worker that he had done ‘something bad,’ and the police also identified his DNA through some spittle found at the scene.
Before he was arrested Staple broke into a house in Hudson Road, Rugby, while the owner was away for two days, and stole electrical goods, music equipment, a TV and a laptop.
And after being granted bail he burgled a house in Rugby Road, Dunchurch, and stole electrical items – but was identified from a smear of blood on a window he had smashed to get in.
Nick Aldridge, defending, said: “There is a psychological report and a pre-sentence report. But the defence are realistic as to the outcome of today’s hearing, as is Mr Staple.”
“Initially he was doing very well, and was able to get by and keep things in order. But as time went on his use of cocaine and, in particular, peer group pressure began to have more and more effect on him.
“His recollection of the offence is sketchy, but he does recall that at the time he was suffering from voices in his head and was using cocaine. He felt he was almost forced by the voices in his head to go out and commit this offence.
“Thankfully no actual force was used, it was a very short incident and he ran off within a matter of seconds.”
Recorder Mark Wall QC told Staple: “You told the police you chose the shop because you thought it would be an easy target.
“At first the shopkeeper thought it was a joke – until you were pointing the gun at his face from about a metre away.
“This was pre-planned. You had deliberately acquired and carried an imitation firearm and selected what you believed was an easy target.
“By then you had already committed a burglary at Hudson Road, and while on bail you committed the other burglary.”