A MASKED raider has been jailed for five years after two amusement arcade staff were held up at knifepoint.
The women were so terrified they climbed a fence to escape the two intruders, who got away with £878 from the New Empire, in West Street, Swadlincote.
Ricardo Hillyer, of Calgary Crescent, Winshill, always denied robbery but was found guilty by a jury at Derby Crown Court. The second man has not been traced.
Recorder Marcus Tregilgas-Davey said the 34-year-old still denied taking part and could not be credited with any remorse.
He said: “It was a pre-planned robbery involving you and another, both with knives. At one point, a knife was certainly brandished.
“The premises were targeted in the hope of stealing a significant sum. The way you stole the money was terrifying for the two female employees.
“That was demonstrated by the fact they fled at the first opportunity and both scaled a fence which was considerably taller than their heights.”
Hillyer had 60 previous criminal convictions. These included a robbery in 2000, which led to a 42-month jail sentence.
He will serve half of the five-year term before being freed on licence.
Mr Tregilgas-Davey said he had ‘tried to be merciful’ to help Hillyer maintain a relationship with his daughter.
Jonathan Dunne, prosecuting, said the 2000 robbery involved Hillyer going into a post office armed with a claw hammer.
Other offences involved dishonesty and drugs matters, added Mr Dunne.
The jury had been told the arcade robbery lasted for up to seven minutes. A male customer was inside when the masked crooks arrived.
Nicholas Whitehorn, defending, told the recorder: “This is not a case where actual violence was used. I accept a knife was brandished.
“But this was not a case where specific verbal threats were made and no injuries were caused.
“There was no attempt and no swipes were made or targeted towards them.”
Hillyer’s drug problem was a major factor in his criminal record and he had worked hard to tackle it, the court heard.