A TEENAGER and his two friends decided to launch a knifepoint robbery on an Accrington off-licence ‘because they were running out of booze and drugs’, a court heard.

But when the 16-year-old and his two accomplices targeted Sarwar’s, in Willows Lane, shopkeeper Asim Karim fought back with a golf club, Burnley Crown Court was told.

One of the masked gang at least tried to force his way behind the counter but Mr Karim resisted and chased the youngsters out into the street.

CCTV footage of the aborted robbery was later studied and the 16-year-old was arrested and interviewed by police.

Prosecutor Stephen Parker said the youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, made a series of ‘frank and damaging admissions’.

He told officers how he had been smoking cannabis with friends just before 10pm on January 4 this year when he decided that they should go to the shop to rob it because ‘they were running out of booze and drugs and needed some money’.

Makeshift masks were fashioned out of a pair of leggings, provided by a neighbour, and the 16-year-old even went into the store initially to check that the coast was clear, the court heard. CCTV footage then shows the incident, with two of the trio seen waving knives and demanding money, with a third around the side of the counter.

Mr Karim picked up a golf club and used it to defend himself, as attempts were made to open a partition between the till area and the shop.

He suffered a cut to his hand during the struggle.

The Accrington youth, who admitted attempted robbery, is now starting a 32-month sentence of detention.

Passing sentence, Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “Those who run small shops and the like deserve to be protected by the courts.”

Stuart McCracken, defending, said the youth had suffered an unstable upbringing where he witnessed and been the subject of domestic violence.

The teenager had been through a difficult Christmas and was abusing not only cannabis and cocaine but ketamine and mephedrone at the time, he added. Nothing had been taken as a result of the robbery but the teenager appreciated the seriousness of his offending, said Mr McCracken.