A MASKED robber who held terrified shopkeepers at knifepoint has been jailed for 10 years.
Jake Griffin, 22, from St Leonards, but of no fixed address, left his victims so badly shaken one had to be relocated to another job.
He was jailed on Friday, February 24, after a hearing at Lewes Crown Court.
Griffin walked into the One Stop shop in Bodiam Drive, St Leonards, just before 8.30pm on October 8 last year armed with a 10 inch bladed kitchen knife.
He was with another man and both had their faces covered. They ordered the female member of staff open the cash till.
The victim was left badly shaken and both men made off with around £100 in cash, as well as cigarettes.
Two weeks later, on October 24, Griffin and the same man, again with their faces covered, walked into Tesco Express in Fernside Avenue, St Leonards at around 5.30pm and confronted the manager just as he came out of the staff toilet.
The victim was threatened with a screwdriver and told he would have his throat cut if he did not open the till.
When he explained that it was on a time lock he was ordered to open the cigarette display cabinet.
The manager tried to shut himself in the toilet but the door was forced open and he was dragged to the cigarette counter.
He sustained minor injuries to his back, eye and thumb, and was taken by ambulance to the Conquest Hospital.
The men were unable to open the till and left empty-handed on a stolen motorcycle. The victim was so affected by his ordeal that he has since been relocated to another store.
Police searched a house in St Leonards two days later and found evidence linking Griffin to the robberies.
A large amount of controlled drugs, along with class A drugs, were also found inside.
Griffin, who handed himself in to officers on November 7, pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, one count of having an offensive weapon, one count of driving a vehicle without consent and two counts of possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
Griffin asked for five domestic burglaries to be taken into consideration.
These were carried out in St Leonards around the same time as the robberies and several cars were stolen, which have since been recovered.
Charges have been dropped against the man who was with Griffin during the robberies in October.
Detective Constable Mark Waughman, who led the investigation, said: “I am pleased with the sentence that Griffin received. It reflects the seriousness of his offences and how frightening it was for his victims, who were not to know whether he would carry out his threats to harm them. I hope his long sentence will be of some consolation to them and act as a strong deterrent to anyone else who is thinking of committing similar crimes in the community.
“I would like to thank all those who came forward and in doing so were pivotal in securing a guilty plea from Griffin and making our communities that little bit safer.”
Detective Inspector Mark O’Brien, from East Sussex CID, said: “This sentence sends out a very clear message that violent knife crime will not be tolerated by society, and the courts will pass appropriate sentences that clearly reflects public concern. The crimes reported are thankfully isolated, and police are committed to reducing all violent crime and in particular knife crime.”