TWO bungling armed robbers are facing a lengthy jail term after making a series of blunders while raiding an off licence.

Marc Maitland, 37, and Franceso Ligreci, 25, yesterday admitted brandishing a firearm to rob Premier Store, St Hubert's Road, Great Harwood, on August 18.

Police today revealed that Maitland covered his face with a balaclava for the raid, but was caught out after the shop assistant recognised his voice as a customer.

Soon after, the duo were said to have aroused suspicions by drinking in St Hubert's Road.

Then they were arrested after trying to buy drink from neighbouring shop The Dairy, while police investigating the raid were upstairs checking the store's CCTV.

Maitland, of Cattle Street, Great Harwood, and Ligreci, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to robbery and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Judge Michael Byrne adjourned until November 19 for pre-sentence reports and told the pair: "You have both pleaded guilty to two very serious offences.

"A substantial sentence is inevitable."

Police said Maitland and Ligreci made off with £400 after threatening a shop assistant with a gun, which has never been recovered.

Detective sergeant Joanne Lightbown, speaking after the pleas were entered, said: "Ligreci went in prior to the robbery to act as a look-out.

"Then Maitland came in wearing a hooded top which covered his face. He brandished the gun and was given £400.

"The shop assistant recognised him as a customer who had been in previously that day."

Bob Landon, owner of The Dairy, also speaking after the case, said: "The police came into my shop and asked if we had seen anything suspicious.

"We said there were a couple of people outside drinking.

"The officers looked at our CCTV and while they were looking the guy came back in the shop to buy drink.

"One of the girls went and told the police upstairs and he was arrested outside the shop."