A bungling robber who attacked a shopkeeper with pepper spray while disguising his face with a baby grow has been jailed.
Aaron Hill, 24, was caught after his brave victim ripped off the make-shift mask and police used DNA from saliva left on the child’s garment to track him down.
Hill used the bizarre disguise when he and two raiders burst into a newsagents where they stole dozens of boxes of cigarettes on August 17 last year.
Jobless Hill sprayed shopkeeper Fetus Williams, who ran Cole Valley News in Hall Green, Birmingham, with his wife Xiaolan Wong, in the face with pepper spray before fleeing.
On Monday Hill was jailed for two years eight months after admitting burglary at Birmingham Crown Court.
Judge James Burbidge QC told him: “They [the couple] are so concerned that they are now contemplating selling this business, their livelihood.
“That is a direct result of your actions.”
The court heard the couple’s two-year-old son was in the shop at the time of the raid which had left him “distressed”.
Hill, of Stechford, West Mids., attacked Mr Williams while his two accomplices vaulted over the till and cleared the shelves of cigarettes.
Brave Mrs Wong tried to fight off the thugs and managed to grab Hill’s baby grow disguise before she was punched in the face and the robbers fled.
Raj Punia, prosecuting, told the court: “Mr Williams and his wife were in their shop when three men burst in.
“They had their hoods up, their faces were covered so you could only see their eyes and they were wearing gloves.
“One almost immediately approached Mr Williams, took off his cap and sprayed him in the face with what appeared to be pepper spray.
“Mr Williams felt stinging in his eyes and the two other raiders jumped over into the till area and began pulling cigarettes off shelves and loading them into a bag.
“At one point Mrs Wong tried to push the robbers away and she managed to pull off the baby grow from Mr Hill’s face.”
Forensics experts extracted DNA from saliva found on the garment which was used to produce a match against the police database.
The court heard Hill, who owed £1,000 for his cannabis and cocaine addiction, had been recruited by the gang shortly before the raid.