A KNIFE-WIELDING robber who burst into a number of Witney shops before threatening staff and shouting that he would burn the buildings down has been jailed.

Prolific thief Christopher Wain, of Richens Drive, Carterton, added another conviction to his tally of 128 offences after he was found guilty of robbery, attempted robbery and having a knife.

During his trial, Oxford Crown Court heard that the 41-year old had gone to a Tesco Express store on February 29, 2016, armed with a knife, threatened staff then stole hundreds of pounds in cash.

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The following week on March 6, Wain was at a Betfred in Witney where he threatened he would burn the building down but was rebuffed by a member of staff and he fled empty handed.

In each of the break-ins Wain wore a balaclava and threatened violence on the shop workers.

Witney Gazette:

Despite denying all wrong-doing, a jury unanimously found him guilty, at the end of his trial in December, on the three counts and cleared him of another alleged robbery on February 27 at a Co-op in Eynsham.

At his sentencing hearing yesterday the court heard that he had a long criminal history made up of 56 convictions for 128 offences, including many for dishonesty and shoplifting.

The latest spree of offences represented an ‘escalation’, prosecutors said at the hearing.

In mitigation, Wain's defence barrister Peter Du Feu said that his client was tackling his drug abuse and said his habit was now ‘completely under control’.

Witney Gazette:

He added that Wain suffered a number of physical ailments resulting from his lifestyle and pointed out that the long record of previous offences including few instances of violence.

Sentencing, Recorder Ann Mulligan said that the offences were so serious she had to impose a jail term despite the good progress he had made since the incidents.

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She said: “You have managed mostly to stay out of trouble these last years. I accept the impact which custody will have on your family. I regret to say that because of the seriousness of the offences I have to deal with I cannot justify anything other than immediate custody today.”

He was jailed for two years and six months for the robbery, to run concurrently with two years for having a knife and six months for attempted robbery.