A BURLY robber threatened a shop worker with a knife before fleeing with thousands of pounds worth of designer jackets from a superstore, a court heard.

Alexander Begley's victim is a former security guard who gave up his job after being stabbed and assaulted because he wanted to feel safe at work.

Begley - 6ft 5ins and 14-stone - was recognised by police from CCTV footage at Go Outdoors on Portrack Lane, Stockton, and was arrested soon afterwards.

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The 24-year-old was jailed for three years after Teesside Crown Court heard he had two other robberies on a lengthy criminal record.

Begley, of Grantham Green, Middlesbrough, was told by Judge Tony Briggs: "As I observe you are a very tall man, and no doubt it was a terrifying experience."

His barrister Tom Mitchell said one of the few things in Begley's favour is that he admitted robbery and possessing a bladed article at an early stage.

The shop assistant said in a victim impact statement, which was read to the court: "I have only been in the job for six weeks and look what has happened."

He said he gave up his previous employment for the sake of his family after being knifed, attacked and threatened, and wanted to work somewhere he would not be subjected to violence.

Prosecutor Emma Atkinson told the court that Begley went into the store on August 26 and asked about a Berghaus coat but was told his size was not stocked.

He then pulled a knife on the startled assistant, grabbed a armful of jackets worth £2,322 and said "I'm taking these" before fleeing from the shop.

The worker said he stood back in fear after Begley moved towards him with the blade, and was warned: "Don't be shouting or I'll come back for you."

The court heard how he has 40 offences on his record, including the robberies in 2006 and 2007 when he snatched bikes from youngsters in the street.

Mr Mitchell said: "A pre-sentence report is not necessary because the is only one outcome today. The situation he finds himself in is quite bad enough."

Judge Briggs told the raider: "You have got a bad record which includes two previous for robbery, although they were committed when you were much younger."