A BRAVE security guard leapt over a shop counter to put himself between a criminal wielding a machete and a terrified Tesco worker.

Nathan Minton jumped to the defence of his colleague after a robber entered Tesco Express, in St Osyth Road, Clacton, just after 8.20pm on January 5 this year.

Balaclava-clad Donald Sampson, 46, walked into the store and approached the counter.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard the shop assistant, Mr Thomas, was working alone behind the till.

Sampson demanded cash.

Alex Wright, prosecuting, said: “He approached and said ‘give me the money from the till’.

“Mr Thomas said ‘don’t be silly’.

“At that the man produced an item described as a sword about 2ft long from his coat.

“He banged it on the counter and shouted ‘open the till and give me the money’.”

Between £200 and £250 was stolen, before brave Mr Minton intervened.

The security guard allowed his colleague to get to safety, but Sampson snatched around £200 worth of cigarettes before fleeing.

Sampson was later arrested and the weapon, identified as a machete, was discovered in a nearby garden.

He admitted charges of robbery and possessing a blade.

The robber has a lengthy criminal history, receiving a three year sentence in 1996 for robbing a newsagents and seven years in 1999 for robbing a bookmakers.

He was convicted of possessing a bladed weapon in 2007.

Peter Marshall, mitigating, said Sampson had led a life “blighted by drug addiction.”

He added: “Since he is been before the adult courts he has spent somewhere in the region of 15 years behind bars.

“He wants to make clear he was not under the influence of Class A drugs when he committed these offences. There was blossoming stability - he was in employment and a stable relationship.”

Judge Patricia Lynch QC jailed the robber for a total of six years.

She suggested Mr Minton receive a £500 reward for his heroics.

“His actions were over and above that expected of a security guard in a shop, particularly when the weapon we’re dealing with was as fearsome as a machete,” she said.

“It is the thing that every employee dreads and something which would certainly do far more than shake me up if I was in that situation.”