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Robber held up Spar shop with knife as he needed cash for cocaine

A man who failed to rob a filling station while pretending he had a gun escaped with £240 after brandishing a knife at a petrified shopworker later the same day, a court has heard.

Billy-Joe Easterbrook was free on licence from prison for robbery. Credit: North Wales Police

Billy-joe Easterbrook, 20, of Church Street, Flint, was free on licence from prison for robbery at the time.

He pleaded guilty to attempted robbery on July 9th, possessing an imitation firearm which was a wooden stick, robbery, and threatening the Spar assistant at Garden City, Deeside, with a kitchen knife. He was jailed for six years.

I have no doubt there's a significant risk of further offences to be committed by you.

You had a wretched start in life. But you have got to make up your mind 'do I buckle down and get on with something or am I going to come out just as feckless as before so the lure of money for drugs outweighed everything'?

– Judge David Hale, Mold Crown Court

Prosecutor David Mainstone said at 6.15am Easterbrook had entered a Shell garage at Flint and demanded money, claiming to have a "point 38."

But a man working there pretended to press a panic button and the defendant fled.

Mr Mainstone said the defendant returned to a Flint hostel but took a knife from the kitchen.

At 8pm a woman assistant at the Spar was approached by Easterbrook who produced a knife and swept it past her neck. He demanded cash and she was "frozen in fear."

The prosecutor said Easterbrook needed cash for cocaine and spent the money from the Spar on drugs.

Easterbrook caused great distress to his victims. This sentence is a warning to anyone who thinks they can engage in such criminality that North Wales Police will bring them to justice and the courts will deal with them robustly. I hope the people of Flintshire will be reassured now that Easterbrook is off the streets

– Det Sgt Colin Oare of Flintshire CID