A convicted robber has been jailed for eight years after he was caught by DNA from his hat which he had left behind after the gunpoint hold-up of a shop in Buckden.
Charles Lee, 54, burst into the One Stop store armed with a sawn-off shotgun on January 16 and demanded terrified customers and staff lay on the floor.
He and an accomplice got away with more than £8,000 worth of cash and postage stamps, a trial at Peterborough Crown Court heard.
But Lee, of Kathie Road, Bedford, was arrested at his home on January 25 after he was identified by traces of his DNA found in a hat caught in a barbed wire fence and found near a burning getaway car.
Lee, who was already on a life licence after previously being jailed for robberies dating back to 1995, was convicted unanimously of robbery and possessing an imitation firearm after a three day trial.
A second man, a 44-year-old from Bedford, who was arrested in connection with the robbery, was released with no further action.
The court heard that while his accomplice took cash, Lee shouted for a member of staff to open the safe and tills.
They snatched property worth more £8,000 but were challenged by a member of the public who saw the men leave the shop in balaclavas.
Lee threatened him with the gun and made off in a white Vauxhall Mokka which was found ablaze in a field off Mill Road, Buckden, a short while later.
When officers arrived they found a black and grey beanie-style hat caught in the barbed wire of a fence near the burning car.
It was sent for DNA testing and results came back matching Lee’s profile.
The man who challenged Lee outside the One Stop also described how the man with the shotgun was wearing a grey balaclava and a beanie hat.
After the hearing DC Kellymarie Harman said: “This was an incredibly traumatic incident for the victims who have found it hard to move on from what has happened.
“I hope that yesterday’s sentencing reflects the seriousness of this offence and will give them some closure to put this behind them and carry on with their lives.”