KNIFEPOINT threats were made to a man as he sat in his car with his two young children in the rear seats.
Christopher Frederick Wiseman claimed he was owed money by a friend of the motorist and approached him.
Durham Crown Court heard that Wiseman had two knives with him as he was going rabbit hunting.
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He stood at the open driver’s door, while four youths accompanying him, with two dogs, were at the other side.
Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said Wiseman produced a flick knife shaped like a shotgun, holding it at his side, and told the driver: “You’ll get this if I don’t get the money.”
He removed the car keys and threw them into a garden.
The driver went to retrieve them as they contained his house keys, but when he returned, Wiseman told him: “I’ll be back for that later”, referring to the car.
Two youths with Wiseman went back later and told the driver: “Don’t phone the police or ‘Wiser’ will stab you up.”
But it was reported and Wiseman surrendered to police, still in possession of a lock knife, a short time later.
He told police he believed he was owed money, but denied producing any knives during the confrontation.
Jane Waugh, for Wiseman, said he was “full of remorse” for his actions.
"It was stupid thing to do, particularly as the children were in the car.”
Miss Waugh added that Wiseman did not think they could see the knife.
Wiseman, 31, of Station Road Estate, Murton, admitted robbery and two counts of possessing a bladed article.
Jailing him for four-and-a-half years, Judge Christopher Prince told Wiseman: “You had taken a considerable amount of valium and heroin and it’s absolutely clear you were using a knife to threaten this man.”
He said the incident was aggravated by the presence of the children in the back of the car.