A TEENAGER helped a gang of masked robbers carry out a "terrifying" raid at a Southampton convenience store in which the shop's manager was held at knife-point.

Jimmy Hodgson, 18, was part of the gang of four who arrived in a stolen vehicle before one pulled a knife and demanded the manager give them access to the store.

The gang then forced the "frightened" shop boss to open up the store's safe and tobacco kiosk, before stealing nearly £9,000 worth of cash, cigarettes and tobacco.

But despite CCTV showing four people robbery, Hodgson was the only suspect to be sentenced for the robbery after his DNA was found on the stolen vehicle's gear-stick.

Two other teenagers were found not guilty of robbery following a trial at Southampton Crown Court.

Police were unable to identify a fourth suspect.

Southampton Crown Court heard how the raid took place at McColl's on Rownhams Road, Southampton, on August 27, 2018.

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The court heard how the manager of the store, Dave Jones, was opening up at around 6.30am when he heard a vehicle pull up nearby.

Prosecutor Rob Griffiths told the court that Mr Jones was approached by four masked people.

He said: "At first he attempted to square up to the defendants hoping they would go away, but then one produced a knife of around five inches in length and with a jagged blade.

"Upon seeing the knife he realised he would have to allow them in."

The court heard that once inside, Mr Jones was ordered to open up the safe, from which around £1,000 in cash was stolen.

Mr Griffiths said the group then stole cigarettes and tobacco from the cigarette kiosk.

The group also demanded access to a cage of stored cigarettes before gaining access to the store's main safe.

Mr Griffiths said the group made off with a total of almost £9,000.

He added that Mr Jones was "frightened" during the incident because he "didn't know if he was going to be stabbed or assaulted".

Hodgson was arrested in September 2018 after a raid on a BP Garage in North Baddersley and later an attempted robbery The Bellemoor Tavern on Hill Lane.

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He was later given a three year youth detention order after pleading guilty to one count of robbery and one count of attempted robbery.

Hodgson was linked to the McColl's robbery after his DNA from the stolen car used before and after the shop raid was found on the vehicle's gear stick.

In mitigation, Jamie Gammon said Hodgson had been led astray by the other three robbers involved in the McColl's raid.

He said Hodgson accepted being part of the robbery, but said he was not the person with the knife and was the driver of the getaway vehicle.

Mr Gammon added that Hodgson was 16 at the time of the robbery and was "immature".

In sentencing Hodgson, who pleaded guilty to one count of robbery, Judge Christopher Parker QC said: "Obviously this was a very frightening experience for him (Mr Jones) and this has longer term implications for him carrying out his role."

Hodgson, of HMP Feltham, London, was sentenced to three years in a young offenders institute.

Judge Parker added: "Know if you come back to this court with this kind as an adult you are likely to receive sentences stretch into double figures."