A MASKED man armed with a sword, who terrorised the boss of an off-licence where he was a regular customer as he tried to rob her, has been jailed.

Drug addict Benjamin Smith, 23, went to McGuires in Barrowford with his face partially covered and wearing a hood, and demanded cash.

Rahena Iqbal, who twice had the sword swung towards her, told Smith: “I know you. I know you,” before she picked up a kettle of boiling water to protect herself and went on to find him on earlier CCTV footage from the shop, which she handed to police.

The defendant left the shop empty-handed when another customer arrived and startled him during the raid on January 15, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Mrs Iqbal, who was alone in her Gisburn Road store when Smith struck, told police she thought she was going to have her head chopped off.

The hearing heard Smith was on bail at the time, after a disturbance at the BP garage on Netherfield Road, Nelson, in December.

He went there, thought to be suffering a drug-induced psychosis, yelling for help, shouting: “They are going to kill me. They are going to kill me.” He bit two police officers.

Smith, of Hall Street, Colne, had admitted affray, assault causing actual bodily harm, attempted robbery and possessing a bladed article. He was jailed for four years and nine months.

Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said Mrs Iqbal, who had run McGuires for about 10 years, was behind the counter in the off-licence when Smith came in at about 7.15pm. She recognised him as a customer even though he had a scarf partially covering his face. The defendant had a sword in one hand and a bag in the other. He said: “Open the till.”

The victim had just made a cup of tea and picked up the hot kettle. Smith swung the sword towards her again.

Mrs Iqbal repeated that she knew him as Smith ranted. The defendant left the shop and made a stabbing gesture towards the customer. The sword was never found.

Smith was not interviewed as he refused to leave his cell.