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A man, armed with a hammer, who stole from a Shell forecourt, has been sentenced to 24 weeks in prison. However, as he was being held on remand at HMP Exeter, time spent there meant he was immediately released.

Cornwall Live reported that Jack Felton wore a balaclava and armed himself with a hammer to go to the Shell garage in Bude. He ordered staff to open the safe but when it couldn’t be opened, he demanded they open the till instead. He took a small amount of cash and alcohol and more than £4,000-worth of cigarettes. He was later arrested at his girlfriend’s home where some of the cigarettes were found.

The court recorder said that even though Felton didn’t use the hammer, carrying it and wearing a balaclava showed there was a degree of planning that went into the offence.

Felton was initially charged with robbery but said it was a case of mistaken identity. Eventually a lesser plea was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Felton has 11 previous convictions and committed this latest offence while on bail and in breach of a suspended sentence.