Robber held Bognor Regis pharmacy at gunpoint wearing 'childish' disguise

Megan Hammond was jailed for robbing Kamsons Pharmacy in Bognor (pictured). Picture: Google Streetview/Sussex Police
Megan Hammond was jailed for robbing Kamsons Pharmacy in Bognor (pictured). Picture: Google Streetview/Sussex Police

A woman who robbed a Bognor pharmacy at gunpoint was caught by police because of how ‘childish’ her homemade disguise was.

Megan Hammond fashioned her own balaclava in an attempt to hide her face when she held up Kamsons Pharmacy with a knife and gun last year.

However she cut the eye holes too big and staff easily recognised her, a court heard last week.

Hammond, 29, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to robbery, possessing an imitation firearm and possessing an offensive weapon and appeared by videolink at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday for sentencing.

'Rough holes cut into the balaclava'

Prosecutor Paul Fairley said: “Miss Hammond was a previous customer of that pharmacy and accordingly she was known well to the various members of staff who worked there.

“At about 9 o’clock in the morning Miss Hammond entered the pharmacy and approached the counter.

“She was wearing a makeshift balaclava with rough holes cut into the front of the balaclava so that she was able to see.

“Because these holes were relatively large, as the incident progressed more and more of Miss Hammond’s face was visible.”

Hammond took out a knife and what appeared to be a gun and banged them down on the counter to get attention, before demanding drugs.

Megan Hammond knew what drugs she wanted

The prosecution conceded that while she brought the weapons with her, they were not brandished or pointed at staff members.

The court heard that Hammond knew precisely what painkillers she wanted and in what dosages – Tramadol, Diazepam and Preglabin.

She made a veiled threat to the staff members of staff who were cooperating at gunpoint, saying ‘if anyone uses the phone…’

Apparently unknown to Hammond, however, a silent panic button had already been pushed.

Once she had been given the drugs, Hammond picked up the weapons and left the store.

The prosecutor added: “When her home was searched a knife and two firearms – both air weapons – were found."

'Lack of sophistication' clear from the poorly made balaclava

Defence barrister Mark Kessler told the court that Hammond suffers from a number of difficulties arising out of a difficult childhood, as well as being on the autistic spectrum.

He added: “It is not an excuse but it may well amount to quite powerful mitigation.

“It is strange to find someone of Miss Hammond’s position who has effectively no previous record suddenly finding herself in this situation.

“The degree of lack of sophistication in this case can be well gauged by the fact that she was immediately recognised by several members of staff.”

Judge Richard Melville QC said: “This is an unsophisticated robbery. It was bound to be found out.

“Your attempt to conceal your identity was not successful and really quite childish.”

He gave her credit for her guilty plea and jailed her for 32 months.