A shop manager has told of his gunpoint ordeal which “lasted two minutes, but seemed like hours” after a man admitted armed robbery.

George Montgomery was sentenced to six years and eight months imprisonment after pleading guilty at Preston Crown Court last week.

The robbery took place at the Co-Op, Bolton Road, Adlington on October 10 as store manager Richard Thompson, 47, and a female member of staff opend up the premises.

Shortly before 6am, Montgomery entered the premises through the rear shutter door.

He brandished a handgun, pointing it at Mr Thompson, who was told to pull the shutters down, before being forced to go into an office with his colleague.

They were instructed to open the safe and put the contents into a bag. £650 in coins was taken.

Mr Thompson, said: “We had just arrived and were preparing the shop for opening when I saw the man, wearing a balaclava in the shop.

“When I saw the gun I thought it was some kind of joke but quickly realised it was real.

“Both of us remained calm throughout, there was no shouting.

“I think to remain composed is the best way to get through something like that.

“There wasn’t really time to get scared but I’ve heard tales of people taking the cash and still shooting people so I was relieved when he left.”

Montgomery then cut the telephone cable with a knife and told the pair to lie down in the cash office.

He left the building, escaping in a Ford Transit van which was parked nearby.

A week later Greater Manchester Police stopped the same Ford Transit in Atherton.

Inside the vehicle was a backpack which was used in the robbery still containing approximately £400 in coins.

Searches of his property recovered an imitation firearm and a balaclava.

It is believed that these were also the ones used in the robbery.

Montgomery, 57, of Bickershaw Lane, Wigan, initially denied the offence stating he found the bag of money, gun and a balaclava in a street.

Mr Thompson said: “I’m thankful the police caught him so quickly because he’s obviously dangerous.

“I’m also relieved he’s got a decent amount of time in jail.”

Speaking after sentencing, DC Phil Hampson from Leyland CID said: “This was a planned and calculated robbery that saw two innocent members of the public held at gunpoint by a Montgomery.

“The sentence given reflects the severity of this frightening ordeal that they were put through and I hope that it can bring them some closure.”