A Post Office robber who held a gun to the head of an 87-year-old customer in a bid to force the staff to hand over the money has been jailed for eight years.

Roy Garner, 28, previously of Richmond Road, Olton, had denied carrying out the attempted robbery at the Green Lane Post Office in Castle Bromwich and possessing an imitation firearm at the time.

But Garner, who was on bail to live at his girlfriend’s address in Webcroft Road, Stechford, at the time following an earlier offence, was found guilty of both charges by a jury at Warwick Crown Court.

Judge Christopher Hodson jailed him for eight years for the attempted robbery, with a consecutive three-month sentence for the earlier theft of a mobile phone.

Get-away driver accomplice Marcus Hughes was given an indeterminate sentence because of his previous record for violent robberies.

Hughes, 29, of Guernsey Drive, Smithswood, who had admitted the attempted robbery and the firearms offence after first claiming he did not know Garner had a gun, was given an indeterminate sentence for the protection of the public.

The Judge said that based on the six-year term he would have imposed, giving him credit for his pleas, he should serve a minimum of three years, before he can be considered for parole.

Prosecutor Michael Duck told the jury the get-away vehicle was a people carrier which had been stolen three months earlier.

“It pulled up outside the post office, and a man emerged sporting a mask over his face, and as he walked to the post office it was conspicuous that he was carrying a gun.”

Inside were members of the family who ran it and a number of customers including an 87-year-old pensioner.

“Garner approached her, grabbed her from behind round the throat and placed the gun to the side of her head,” Mr Duck said.

A panic button was pressed, an alarm went off and Garner fled.

They abandoned the Peugeot in Morgan Grove before fleeing and throwing away the stocking masks. Police discovered DNA from the two men on them.

The court heard both had previous robbery convictions, and in June 2001 Hughes had been jailed for five years for robbing people at cashpoint machines, including one man who he stabbed in the thigh.

Andrew Tucker, for Hughes, said: “He remained in the vehicle at all times. He did not anticipate the imitation firearm would be used against an elderly lady.”

Alan Parker, for Garner, said he now accepts he was involved in the robbery – but says he was the driver.

Jailing the two men, who appeared separately in the dock, Judge Hodson said: “It was plainly regarded by the two of you as a soft target. It does not matter which of you went in, because you had plainly planned this offence together.”