A Rhyl man has been jailed for five and a half years after he admitted being one of three men who robbed a lone member of staff at a Denbigh convenience store.

Derryn Grief was the masked man who entered McCalls in Rhyl Road branding a hammer.

When the member of staff hesitated, he produced a knife and brandished it towards him.

The robbery happened back in 2016 – but Grief had since that time committed a further 11 offences, Mold Crown Court was told.

Judge Niclas Parry, who said that Grief had previous convictions for 72 offences, indicated that it was a group robbery, well planned and organised which would have had a serious effect not only on the victim but on the local community generally.

In October 2016 he and others targeted vulnerable premises which was providing an important service for the local community, the judge said.

Such convenience stores were regarded by the criminal fraternity as easy targets.

“They are known to be often manned by a lone member of staff,” he said.

They were the types of premises targeted far too often in North Wales and would be protected, he said.

Grief entered the store disguised with a balaclava and brandished a hammer at the lone member of staff.

He then produced a lock knife and brandished that at the victim as a second man, also masked, advanced with a hammer.

CCTV footage of part of the robbery was played to the court.

Prosecuting barrister Anna Pope said that Grief, of Penymaes Avenue in Rhyl, was house sitting and living at the time in Denbigh.

She said two masked men robbed the lone shop worker.

They fled with about £250 cash and some alcohol.

Miss Pope said that CCTV footage showed three people approaching the store.

Grief returned to a house in Maes Glas where balaclavas and other incriminating items were later found.

The victim had been left feeling nervous about working in shops.

Sarah Yates, defending, said that it was conceded that there was planning but it was not the most sophisticated of robberies.

The robbery was a long time ago.

His previous convictions were not impressive but he had no previous convictions for robbery.

It was an extremely serious offence which would have an impact not only on the victim but on the wider community.

Judge Parry said that the offence was old – but rather than that being an aggravating feature, he had used the 18 months or so to commit 11 more offences including a dwelling house burglary.

Grief originally denied the robbery conspiracy but changed his plea to guilty before his trial started.

A second man was cleared at the direction of a judge and the prosecution dropped the case against a third defendant – a teenager who was alleged to have been the look-out.

DC Andy Edwards said: North Wales Police would like to thank members of the public who assisted with this investigation which ultimately brought Derryn Grief to justice.

"The police will go to great lengths to protect local businesses and bring people responsible for committing violent crime before the courts. They should expect lengthy prison sentences if they are found guilty, particularly if they use weapons to threaten hard working members of our community.”