POLICE are warning youngsters to “think again” about the serious and lasting consequences they face before getting caught up in a “moment of madness” and committing serious crimes.

Three Birkenhead teenagers were jailed for 18 months on Monday following an armed robbery at BRS Food Wine & News in Greasby last month.

There were emotional scenes in court as the three, one aged 16, the other two 17, were handed custodial sentences by District Judge Michael Abelson.

All three pleaded guilty to charges of robbery and possession of a bladed weapon in a public place following the February 19 hold up, which saw one of them threaten to kill the shopkeeper unless he handed over cash.

They fled with £1,500 cash, four packets of cigarettes and two bottles of alcohol but were stopped and arrested by police on Cortsway just 15 minutes later.

The robbers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will now spend nine months in a Young Offenders’ Institution and the remaining nine on licence.

Following Monday’s sentencing, Detective Inspector Mark Tivendale, from Wirral CID, has warned others to think of the serious and lasting consequences that come with committing such crimes.

He said: “This case is both shocking and sad for everyone involved.

“The three youths were from good homes with unblemished characters and records, but in what must have been a moment of utter madness they decided to carry out a frightening armed robbery.

"As well as leaving the shopkeeper involved terrified, their actions will also have lasting consequences for both their own lives and their families.

"The youths' good characters have now been tainted and they have been left with a criminal record.”

DI Tivendale added: “On top of this, their families have been left devastated by the events of the last month.

“They were in complete shock when their children were arrested and charged and now have to come to terms with the fact that they are going to spend nine months behind bars as convicted armed robbers.

"I hope this case will make young people across Merseyside think again if they are considering getting involved in any form of criminality.

“As these events clearly show, even people from good homes with loving families can end up in trouble, damaging both their reputations and their future."