A ROBBER who terrified a female shop assistant in Malmesbury when he threatened her with a knife has today been jailed for a total of eight years.

Christopher Pike, 30, admitted the robbery at County Jewellers in the high street on October 5 along with a string of burglaries and thefts across Wiltshire, Avon and Somerset valued in the region of £30,000.

Swindon Crown Court heard Pike, formerly of White Horse Way, Devizes went on a two-month crime spree in September and October starting with the theft of the red Honda motorcycle that was used in his offending.

Prosecutor Hannah Squire told how he held the 7ins knife to Alicia Bird’s face during the robbery and shouted and swore at her to open the safe and give him money. When the frightened assistant bent down to the safe she felt the blade on her back.

A fellow trader heard her scream and ran in to be confronted with the knife. There was a tussle and she feared her rescuer was about to be stabbed. Pike then ran into the road and fled on a red motorbike, leaving the stolen cash behind.

Mrs Bird later said: “My first thought was that I was going to die.”

As well as admitting the robbery Pike, who has a list of previous convictions dating back to 1997 including assault, witness intimidation, theft and dangerous driving, also pleaded guilty to two burglaries, theft, criminal damage, common assault, four counts of driving while disqualified, four of having no insurance, theft from a motor vehicle, bilking and failing to surrender to the court.

He asked for 30 similar offences to be taken into account.

Rob Ross, defending, said the robbery was out of character for Pike.

“He accepts that he put her in terrible fear,” he said, offering his client’s “profound apologies and remorse.”

“In the grip of a dreadful addiction he took this course of action and he accepts that he will have to pay for it.”

But he had gone out of his way to provide closure to the victims of his crimes by cooperating with police.

Judge Euan Ambrose sentenced him to four years for the robbery and two years for each of the two burglaries, to run consecutively. Sentences for the other offences were to run concurrently. He was also banned from driving for two years.