ARMED robbers, one wearing a Halloween mask and wielding a hunting knife and hammer, attempted to raid a Redditch supermarket, leaving a little girl terrified.

Mark Congrave admitted attempted robbery after he and an unnamed accomplice carried out the attack at the Co-op in Evesham Road, Crabbs Cross, Redditch, witnessed by staff and customers, including a girl of 11.

The 40-year-old, previously of Illshaw Close, Redditch, was jailed for four years following the attempted robbery at around 4.15pm on Saturday, August 24.

Paul Whitfield, prosecuting, said it was Congrave's accomplice who was armed with the hammer and knife. However, Congrave was guilty of the robbery as a 'joint enterprise' with the other man.

He said: "The enterprise was to rob the till and get such money as they could."

Mr Whitfield described how Congrave was dressed in a 'full camouflage combat suit' and was wearing a woolly hat, which he had pulled down, and a scarf which was pulled up to disguise his face.

His accomplice was described as wearing 'a Halloween mask' and a hoody with the hood up.

Mr Whitfield said one of the female shop workers described the accomplice as 'swinging the hammer over his head and shouting 'open the till!'

"She says that this man got as close as one foot from her, more or less, and was up against her clearly shouting and threatening."

Congrave was carrying a metal strip which he said was not for use as a weapon or to reinforce the threats his accomplice was making but to force open the till.

Mr Whitfield said of the shop worker: "She was frightened, quite understandably."

Mr Whitfield said because she was panicking she was unable to operate the mechanism to open the till and did not have a key to open it.

Frustrated with her inability to open the till, the accomplice hit the till with a hammer and shouted 'give us the money!' said Mr Whitfield.

However, the would-be robbers left without getting any cash from the till and police were called.

"There were members of the public in the shop who saw what was done. One of those was a child aged 11. She was visibly shocked" said Mr Whitfield.

Despite his disguise, Congrave was identified by a police officer and picked out at formal identification procedure by a witness from the shop.

Congrave gave a no comment interview but pleaded guilty at a plea and trial preparation hearing on October 7.

Mr Whitfield said Congrave's accomplice 'is on the radar' and had not 'got away' but no further details were disclosed about him in open court.

Congrave has previous convictions, including for burglary and possession of a handgun which he said was delivered to him by his drug dealer and was hidden inside a tumble dryer.

Lee Egan, defending, said his client's antecedence reflected his 'chronic' heroin addiction.

"He was using heroin in his teens and has been addicted since he was 21. His life has been blighted" said Mr Egan.

The advocate also referred to Congrave's 'poor mental health, including suicidal ideation' which 'isn't improved in general terms by being in custody'.

Mr Egan requested full credit for his client's guilty plea and also said he was now on a reduced methadone script and was 'on the mend at the moment'.

Recorder David Mason QC said: "You had the good sense to plead guilty to this matter. Perhaps you had no choice bearing in mind the quality of the CCTV."

He added: "No doubt the people in that shop were frightened by what was going on, particularly the child who would have been terrified by your actions."

Congrave was jailed for four years and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £181.

He can expect to serve half his sentence in custody and half on licence in the community.