A ‘desperate’ robber who threatened women with a knife netted more than £30,000 during a spree of raids on travel agents.
Jason Thompson used the knife to threaten female staff – including a pregnant woman – at six travel agents, stealing thousands of pounds in currency and travellers cheques during the daylight robberies.
But he was caught out by CCTV footage which clearly showed his face and car registration, allowing police to trace him straight to his doorstep.
Thompson, 42, struck at two travel agents in Accrington and four in Littleborough, Leeds, Otley and Pudsey between July 2013 and February 2014, Burnley Crown Court heard.
The former care worker, who has no previous convictions, claimed he carried out the raids because he was being threatened by loan sharks.
Jailing him for eight years, Judge Beverley Lunt said there was no justification for the ‘terrifying’ pre-planned robberies.
She added: “A knife was bought specifically for each of the robberies, produced on each occasion and then discarded.
“It was obviously very traumatic for each of these victims. You say you wouldn’t have harmed them, they didn’t know that and some express fears, even now, that you will return.”
Prosecutor Emma Keogh said Thompson first struck at Althams Travel Services, on Blackburn Road, Accrington, at 11am on July 4 last year.
Threatening four female staff with a vegetable knife, he forced them into a back office and demanded £8,032 in foreign currency from the safe.
Thompson threatened a pregnant Althams travel agent employee during the incident.
He used the same methods, threatening female staff with a knife, during another five robberies. First at Althams Travel, in Littleborough, on August 16 – where he stole £7,500 in currency and travellers cheques.
Then at Thompson’s Travel Agent, in Otley, on October 2, he helped himself to 800 Australian dollars, £5,000 in Czech Koruna and other currency.
On November 14, he struck at Co-op Travel, in Horsforth, Leeds, and stole £4,500 in cash and travellers cheques.
Then on the afternoon of January 1 this year, he targeted Althams Travel Agents in Pudsey, stealing £4,000.
He returned to Accrington to steal £3,800 from Thompson’s travel agents, on February 18.
But on this occasion, he was captured on CCTV and police were able to trace his car back to his home, where he was later arrested.
He admitted all offences during a ‘tearful’ police interview, Ms Keogh said.
Thompson, of Park Road, Barnoldswick, pleaded guilty to robbery with a knife on six occasions.
The court heard that Thompson had been sacked form his job as a care worker, was being threatened by loan sharks and wished to apologise to his victims.