A prolific young offender who threatened a shopkeeper with a kitchen knife in an attempted robbery at a newsagents has been jailed for four years.
Stephen Hickman, 21, was on the run from police when he carried out the failed robbery at Smith’s newsagents, Cross Lane, Farnley, Leeds, on November 4 this year.
A court heard Hickman went into the store at 7am and tried to buy some cans of lager. The woman behind the counter refused to serve him and told him to come back an hour later when she would be licenced to sell him alcohol.
Hickman was then seen hanging around outside the shop and acting suspiciously. He went back inside ten minutes later and threatened the woman with an eight-inch blade.
The woman pressed a panic alarm button and Hickman ran off. Hickman, who had recently been released from a prison sentence for robbery, handed himself in at Holbeck police station later that day and told officers he was in breach of his licence.
Officers suspected Hickman may have been involved in the offence at the newsagents and asked him about it.
Hickman, of Springwell View, Holbeck, admitted he was involved and pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a knife.
The court heard Hickman has 19 convictions for 26 previous offences including sexual assaulting a child and robbing a taxi driver at knife-point.
Michael Walsh, mitigating, said his client pleaded guilty to the offences at the earliest opportunity and co-operated with police.
Recorder Toby Wynn said: “You knew precisely what you were doing.
“People who work in shops like this provide a vital service for their customers. They are very vulnerable to attack.
“They must be protected by these courts.”