'Actions of a coward' - Hertfordshire criminal slammed by police after he burgled woman, 80

Andrew Allen threatened a shop worker with two large knives
Andrew Allen threatened a shop worker with two large knives.

A man who threatened a shop worker with knives and burgled an 80-year-old woman the same day has been jailed.

Police described Andrew Allen's raids as the "actions of a coward" as he was sent to prison for seven years.

The 44-year-old from Welwyn Garden City first attempted to rob the Co-Op in Peterborough Road in Eye.

He pushed a customer out of the way, pulled out two large kitchen knives and demanded the female cashier should “open the till”.

Allen, who was wearing a face mask, was stopped from accessing the till by another female staff member. He fled the shop on a bike.

A few hours later he broke into the home of an 80-year-old woman.

The woman had woken up and went downstairs where she found a window had been smashed, all her money and bank cards had been taken and her purse and bag left empty on the living room floor.

A wedding ring and engagement ring were also stolen.

Allen used a stolen bank card to withdraw a total of £670.

He was arrested in Bretton after detectives obtained CCTV from the burglary which they matched with the images from the shop.

Allen booked a taxi after breaking into the elderly woman’s house and further enquires eventually led detectives to him.

He was jailed at Cambridge Crown Court for seven years after admitting attempted robbery, one count of possessing a knife in a public place, burglary, one count of fraud and possession of a class B drug.

Detective Constable George Corney said: “Allen’s actions towards the staff members at the Co-Op were disgraceful and very frightening for them.

“Not only did he threaten someone with a knife, disgustingly he thought it was acceptable to burgle the home of an elderly woman and steal money and items from her.

“These are the actions of a coward and I am pleased Allen is now behind bars where he can reflect on his immoral behaviour.”