Cambridgeshire armed robber jailed for eight years after holding shop staff at gunpoint

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A convicted robber has been found guilty of committing an armed robbery at a shop and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Charles Lee, 54, was arrested at his home on 25 January after DNA testing on a hat left caught up in a barbed wire fence came back as his.

The firearm Lee used to threaten shoppers and staff

The firearm Lee used to threaten shoppers and staff

At about 5pm on Tuesday 16 January, Lee burst into the One Stop in Buckden High Street, armed with a sawn-off shotgun, and demanded customers and staff lay on the floor.

An accomplice helped raid the store for cash as Lee shouted to a member of staff to open the safe and tills. They managed to make off with more than £8,000 worth of postage stamps and cash, but not before being challenged by a member of the public who saw the men leaving the store in balaclavas.

Lee threatened him with the shotgun and made off in a white Vauxhall Mokka which was found set alight in a field off Mill Road in Buckden just a short while later.

When officers arrived they found a grey and black beanie-style hat caught in the barbed wire of a fence next to the burning car. It was sent off for DNA testing which later came back with a match to the DNA profile of Lee.

The man who challenged Lee outside the One Stop also gave details in his witness statement that the man with the shotgun was wearing a grey balaclava and a beanie hat.

A second person, a 44-year-old man, was also arrested in connection with the robbery, however he was released with no further action.

Yesterday (Thursday 19 July), following a three-day trial at Peterborough Crown Court, the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts for robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.

Lee, from Bedford, was sentenced to eight years in prison for each offence, to run concurrently, however he is on a life licence after serving prison time for a number of other robbery offences as far back as 1995.

DC Kellymarie Harman said: “This was an incredibly traumatic incident for the victims who have found it hard to move on from what has happened.

“I hope that yesterday's sentencing reflects the seriousness of this offence and will give them some closure to put this behind them and carry on with their lives.”