A ROBBER who pulled a knife on a man in his home before snatching his wallet and money was last night starting a four-year prison sentence.

Andrew Dooley was told by a judge that he had terrified victim Michael Emmerson during the incident at a flat in Darlington on August 13.

Dooley, 24, denied robbery but was yesterday found guilty on a majority of ten to two by a jury after a three-day trial at Teesside Crown Court.

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Mr Emerson, 42, had invited him into his home near North Road when he returned from a night out and found Dooley at the flats complex.

The court heard that the defendant, of Chandos Street, Darlington, knew other people who lived there and had been hanging around that evening.

Jailing him, Recorder Alison Hunt told Dooley: “This offence is undoubtedly serious. You abused Mr Emmerson's trust and his hospitality.

“I accept this was an opportunistic offence and you have not planned to do this, and you had not taken a knife out with you that night.”

Ian West, mitigating, said although Dooley had a bad record, he had never committed a similar crime and his last offence of violence was in his teens.

The court heard how he grabbed the knife from the flat's kitchen, “ranted and raved” and threatened his frightened victim before fleeing with £25.

The judge told Dooley: “You have left him feeling that he can't be so trusting of people now as he used to be.”