A TEENAGER who was caught by a father and son after trying to rob a village shop has been locked up.

Darren Gilbert, 18, and his 17-year-old accomplice covered their faces as they went into the Premier store in Alresford on Friday, February 4, shortly before 6pm.

Gilbert picked up a craft knife from the counter and ordered staff to hand over the till. There was a struggle when they refused.

Gilbert and his accomplice fled empty-handed but a court heard Paul Sibbons and son Jack heard the row.

Jack managed to stop Gilbert, Chelmsford Crown Court was told.

Gilbert, of Hayes Road, Clacton, admitted attempted robbery, posessing a weapon and assaulting Jack.

He was sent to a young offenders’ institution for a total of 18 months. Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC said: “Shopkeepers will be protected by the courts.”

Sentencing of Gilbert’s accomplice was adjourned for reports. He cannot be named because he is under 18.

Noise from the shop, on the corner of Colchester Main Road and Station Road, alerted a family passing by.

Paul and Jack Sibbons gave chase, and another family member went into the shop to check on the staff.

Damage to the till during the struggle was estimated at £10,000, the court heard.

Clare Ashcroft, mitigating for Gilbert, said he had drink and drug problems. Miss Ashcroft said Gilbert had gone into the shop to get some food as he was hungry, but he cannot explain why he picked up the knife.

She said there had been no pre-planning.

Miss Ashcroft said: “He is not proud of his actions.”

The other teenager will be sentenced next month. He was remanded in custody until then. There was no application for bail.

The store manager has praised the heroes who saved his store from armed robbers.

Sabaratnam Sunthar warned criminals to stay away from the community where everyone looks after each other.

Mr Sunthar, who has run the store for three years, said it was the first time anything like this had happened.