Gordon Crane, 30, and Daniel Whitehead, 27, both pleaded guilty to robbery after arrests in petrol station forecourt drama
Two men robbed a shop of cigarettes - one carrying a fake handgun - sparking a major armed police operation.
Gordon Crane, 30, and Daniel Whitehead, 27, have pleaded guilty to robbing two women of cigarettes worth £93.59 on September 9.
Whitehead, of Chadburn Road, Stockton, admitted possessing of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence on the same date.
He meant the firearm, described as a handgun, to make the women believe "unlawful violence would be used against them".
And Crane, of Wembley Way, Oxbridge, Stockton, admitted driving a Peugeot vehicle while disqualified on Norton Road, Stockton.
At the time, it was reported staff were allegedly threatened with a firearm at about 11.30am on September 9.
About an hour and a half later, at 1pm, four people were arrested at the Jet garage in Norton.
The dog unit and armed officers surrounded a car on the petrol station forecourt, while the force helicopter hovered overhead.
Crane and Whitehead were charged. They appeared in court and entered their pleas via video link to Durham Prison.
They cannot yet be sentenced as the cases of two other people are yet to be dealt with.
Damian Sabino, defending Whitehead, said: "Of course he's anxious to know his fate. He expects a custodial sentence.
"There is an escalation in his offending. There are some things in his life... a number of difficulties that he has had in his life."
Judge Howard Crowson told the pair: "What you really want to know is your sentence."
He remanded them in custody until another hearing on October 18.