A DRUG addicted knife robber threatened a long-time family friend and stole hundreds of pounds from his store.

Shaun Cooper robbed two premises in Basildon within 24 hours to fund his habit.

The robberies took place at a Texaco service station at 6am on April 12, and then at 7.50pm at the Cellar Plus convenience store, both in Whitmore Way.

The 43-year-old had gone to the Texaco store armed with a 15 centimetre knife and pointed it at a female member of staff who was opening up the store with a colleague.

He demanded her to go inside the store and open the till, and when she started calling for her colleague, he yelled: “Stop calling or I’m going to kill you”.

He then forced her inside to open the till, and cigarette display cases.

He stole £329 in cash, plus £1,694 worth of cigarettes.

In the second robbery at Cellar Plus, Cooper stormed in with a 12-inch knife and threatened the shop owner, and long-time family friend, before stealing about £300 in cash, thrusting it into a Lidl brand bag before fleeing.

A resident later spotted Cooper with the bag and holding a knife near their home and phoned the police, leading to his arrest.

Cooper, of no fixed address, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday.

Benjamin Burge, prosecuting, said the female worker was left feeling scared to work alone and that Texaco had lost between £300 and £700 in sales due to the store having to close for the morning.

He said: “The owner of Cellar Plus is scared for himself and his staff, and said that what was done was unforgivable.

“He has know the defendant and his family for 40 years, and previously gave him paid work, regarding him as a loyal customer, and never thought he could do such a thing.

“He said any prison sentence he receives will never be enough.”

Mitigation for Cooper said he was remorseful and accepts his actions were “unacceptable”, which he carried out to fund his addiction.

Judge Andrew Hurst told Cooper: “You have to remember that you were stealing money, but from their point of view they were taken aback, very, very scared and frightened.

“This will stay with them for a very long time, perhaps forever.”

Cooper admitted two counts of robbery and possessing a knife and was jailed for six years in total.