An armed robber who carried out a knifepoint raid on a St Neots convenience store has been jailed.

Wayne Hartop, 40, was sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court on Friday (September 13) after admitting robbery at an earlier hearing.

Prosecuting, Sattam Al-Mugheiry said Hartop went to the Nisa shop in Longsands Road at 6.30pm on 
August 15.

"Just outside the shop he pulled a hat over his head with two eye-holes cut out and went in with a steak knife, four to five inches in length, and demanded the people in the store open the till," he told the court.

"One of the staff described him as waving his knife towards her and feeling threatened by this. He took in the region of £300 from the till before running off."

Mr Al-Mugheiry said it had been an inept robbery because CCTV had caught Hartop before he pulled on the mask.

The court heard he had been staying at his mother's house, in the same road as the shop, and had been using the store for many years.

"Police were able to identify the defendant very quickly," Mr Al-Mugheiry added. "He was arrested at his girlfriend's house, also in St Neots. In the house was various drugs paraphernalia, including needles.

"The defendant said he could not remember parts of the day but had taken various drugs, including heroin."

Defending, Duncan O'Donnell said Hartop had taken full responsibility for his actions.

"The reality is one sees offending behaviour starts after the collapse of a long-term relationship. He then loses his job as a plasterer. He went on ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) and was suddenly receiving cash, doing nothing, and his heroin addiction takes hold of him.

"When the money runs out, there's the shop. It was entirely inept, entirely out of character."

Judge Patrick O'Brien said going into a convenience store with a balaclava and knife and terrifying staff was a very serious matter. He sentenced Hartop to two years and nine months in prison.