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A robber who threatened staff at two Basildon businesses on the same day and street has been jailed.
Shaun Cooper targeted the Texaco service station in Whitmore Way just after 6am on Sunday April 12.
He threatened a shop assistant with a knife and demanded she open the till and cigarette cabinet.
He then stole cash and cigarettes, worth a combined total of around £1,500.
At 7.50pm, he then went into Cellar Plus in Whitmore Way and threatened the owner with a knife.
Again he demanded he open the till, and got away with about £300.
A witness outside the shop alerted police and officers carried out a search of the area.
While out looking for Cooper, a resident called police to say she had footage captured by her doorbell of a man acting suspiciously.
The description matched that given by the witness outside the shop.
Cooper was then found and arrested.
The 42-year-old, of no fixed address, was charged with two counts of robbery and two counts of possession of a knife or sharp pointed article in a public place.
He admitted the offences at Basildon Crown Court on May 13 and was jailed for six years on June 4.
He was also ordered to pay a £181 victim surcharge.
DC Jake Weeks, of Basildon CID, said: “Cooper was identified through CCTV footage and admitted the robberies during his police interview.
“The evidence against him meant he had no option but to plead guilty in court. He now has a significant time in prison to reflect on his actions.
“During the police interview, he told officers he had committed the crimes to fund his drug habit.
“Fortunately in this case his victims were unhurt, but his actions have meant they no longer feel safe going about their daily lives.
“Cases such as this highlight how the root causes of why offenders carry a knife are complex and can’t be tackled through enforcement alone.
“Essex Police works with a wide range of organisations and charities to help tackle those root causes, through education, prevention, and rehabilitation.
“Information from the public is also really important – if you know someone is carrying a weapon, please tell us.”
Contact 101 or report online at https://www.essex.police.uk
Always call 999 in an emergency.
You can also contact the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org