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Armed robber who tried to flush meat cleaver down toilet jailed

(LtoR) Toilet with meat cleaver trapped in the bowl. Martin Skillen pictured.

An armed robber who tried to flush a meat cleaver down a toilet in Manchester City Centre has been jailed.

Martin Skillen, 32, of Rochdale Road, Middleton was caught on CCTV clambering over the counter of a betting shop on Fountain Street in the city centre in February this year demanding money and making threats.

Alarmed at the sight of the blade in his hand, the member of staff stood away and Skillen raided the till for cash.

It was afterwards that a member of the public alerted security to a cubicle in the public toilets in the Arndale Centre, where officers discovered the meat cleaver shown on CCTV, wedged in the pan.

Meat cleaver used by Martin Skillen wedged in toilet. Credit: Greater Manchester Police
Meat cleaver which was used in robbery. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Detective Constable Matt Cooper of GMP’s City of Manchester Division, said: “Skillen made the member of staff fear not only for her safety but for her life.

“The effect this has had on her cannot be underestimated; she was simply carrying out the duties of her job in an environment where she should not fear violence.

"She has had to have time off work to recover from the ordeal, has struggled returning to work and has been considering a change in career, all due to Skillen’s actions.

“We will not stop in our fight against armed criminals like Skillen until the message is as loud and clear as it possibly can be; weapons and those who carry them are not welcome on our streets."

Skillen was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to robbery and possession of an offensive weapon at an earlier hearing.