TWO brothers have been jailed after they carried out a bungled shop robbery in order to repay a £200 debt to loan sharks, a court heard.

Bolton Crown Court was told how 20-year-old Daniel Fletcher and his 17-year-old brother Gareth Fletcher targeted the MS Grocers in High Street, Bolton, on the afternoon of November 4 last year.

Craig MacGregor, prosecuting, said Daniel Fletcher, wearing a skeleton ski mask, stood on the counter grabbing cigarettes while his brother, with his hood up, because he was uncomfortable in the gas mask he intended to wear, tried to snatch charity boxes.

Elderly shopkeeper Mohamed Saddique grabbed hold of the older brother, suffering bruising in the process, and shouted for his son, who was in a back room, to help.

Daniel Fletcher was detained until police officers arrived but Gareth Fletcher escaped and handed himself in to a police station later in the day.

Robert Galinski, defending Daniel Fletcher, said he had developed a cannabis habit at the age of 12 and the warehouseman, a father-of-two, was £200 in debt to loan sharks.

He added that the attempted robbery, to which Fletcher, of Mallett Crescent, Doffcocker, pleaded guilty, was his first crime. It is a bizarre place to start for a 20-year-old who has never been in trouble before,” said Mr Galinski.

Mark Friend, defending Gareth Fletcher, of Beatrice Road, Halliwell, said the Bolton College student had only intended to scare the shopkeeper and had not wanted a confrontation.

Recorder Mukhtar Hussain QC told the brothers he did not accept the crime was a theft gone wrong.

“It remains a mystery as to why you decided to commit such a serious offence,” he said.

Daniel Fletcher was sentenced to three years in jail and ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge while Gareth Fletcher was given 18 months detention and must pay a £20 victim surcharge.